Even the most successful companies are in constant competition for business. What sets them apart often boils down to one factor: outstanding customer service.
I have spent 44 years focused on customer service. I have written hundreds of articles, as well as seven books on the topic. I have also been interviewed on television and radio and presented to thousands of customers with seminars worldwide. No matter what business you’re in, here’s some advice I highly recommend you consider.
Most firms believe they provide awesome service. They are addicted to advertising and marketing using expensive media. The biggest issue I see is they have no idea how inconsistent and weak their service really is. Most firms believe they need no help, even if employee turnover is high. The problem is staring them in the face: It’s their reluctance to invest in their people to develop a customer-driven workforce.
Here are six keys to building an outstanding customer service culture.
- Understand you’re in the service business. Most companies think they are in manufacturing and retail. Southwest Airlines is successful because they understand they’re a customer service company—they just happen to be an airline. Customer service is a critical piece of your business, and you should fine-tune it as much as you can.
- Look at all the policies, procedures and systems you have in place. You could have the nicest people in the world, but you could have unreasonable hours, rules or procedures that make life miserable for customers. When you make it that difficult for customers to patronize you, they find someone else who is more accommodating. Your customers can do quite a few things much better than you can, and if your business isn’t embracing this fact by viewing customer service as a branch of your marketing department with tremendous ROI,
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