Customer service is by its very name a focus on the customer first, with all the unique and often inconvenient requests they bring to your business. Focusing on the customer rather than the company may not always be efficient but will result in a more satisfied and loyal customer base.
Flexibility and responsiveness show respect for the customer. Being aware and mindful of your customers’ time may mean adjusting your schedule to offer them more convenient access to your products and services. Take time to answer questions about your services or products adequately so that your customers will make informed decisions and properly value your business. Those few extra minutes spent with a frustrated or under-informed customer may result in increased loyalty—and sales.
Anticipating customers’ needs by keeping extra inventory on hand may initially mean increased costs, but being able to provide what is wanted when it is wanted is satisfying for both the consumer and the business. In the event that you are unable to provide the requested product or service immediately, be willing to take the necessary steps to assure that the customer’s needs are met as quickly as possible—even calling around to locate the item or service on behalf of the customer if you are unable to provide it.
When a problem arises, actively listening to your customer’s complaint will help you resolve the issue. Understanding the “why” as well as the “what” of their dissatisfaction is crucial. Rather than assuming a defensive posture, try using the approach, “What can we do to make it right?” It empowers the customer to give their feedback honestly and provides you with the information you need to improve the transaction.
Inherent in all successful customer service is a genuine interest in the customer’s satisfaction. When they feel confident that your interest in them is sincere, they will value your company even more. And after all, it is your customers that determine the value of your company. When you demonstrate flexibility, anticipate their needs, and sincerely serve them, customers will bring you their return business as well as refer you to their friends.For more information on customer service, see Micah Solomon’s article in the 3 June 2014 edition of Forbes Magazine entitled “There’s Nothing Less Efficient Than Providing Great Customer Service.”