You’ll be hard pressed to find a company that doesn’t tout their customer service skills.
All of them say it and all of them believe it.
If that’s the case though, why do so many of us have personal customer service horror stories?
Why is bad customer service such a common gripe?
It’s mostly because customer service is a lot easier to talk about than do.
It only takes a few seconds to type out a sentence about how great your customer service is, but actually providing that customer service over an extended period is a much bigger challenge.
It’s still possible and that’s what today’s podcast is all about.
Ways to Maintain Customer Service
Let me guess. Your customers are never upset with the quality of service you provide.
In fact, they’re talking about it with every person they happen to meet.
No way. Nobody is perfect.
Everyone makes mistakes and sometimes those errors involve less than stellar customer service.
But there’s hope.
Here are five ways you can consistently provide the possible service over time.
Customer Service and the Big Picture
So often the way serve our customers is further down on our list of priorities than it should be.
We all spend so much time attracting new customers that it’s easy to forget how much value the customers we already have bring to the table.
Make sure you keep your current customers happy and serve them to the best of your ability.
This might sound confusing.
But whatever service standards you agree to become your boundaries, and you should work to maintain those boundaries.
Stick to your schedule.
If you’re closed on evenings and weekends, try not to answer emails or phone calls during those ties.
Have you agreed to a certain number of deliverables? Great! Provide that number and not more.
Maybe you have specific times blocked out for meetings and direct communication.
If so, that’s how long you should spend on it.
This helps add to your customer service in a few ways:
- It means you’re clear about what you’re doing and when you’re doing it. Everyone loves clarity.
- Boundaries require your customers to respect your time. (It’s MUCH easier to be nice to someone who respects your time!)
- Having boundaries preserves your energy as well as your team’s. This means they can devote their full attention to delivering great customer service.
Be Consistent In Your Communication
Like most industries, the communications world has its own vocabulary.
Within those industries, companies use their own terms and definitions for different concepts.
On top of that, organizations have their own methods for dealing with questions, collaboration, and feedback.
Imagine how frustrating it is to not understand how you should get support on an issue you’re experiencing.
It’s annoying and that annoyance tends to be talked about quite a bit.
We have to remember that most of our customers aren’t used to the same industry jargon we use in our everyday work-lives.
And they shouldn’t have to know our language. They have other priorities.
It does mean, however, that it’s on you as their service provider to be clear and consistent so they know what to expect.
The Curse of Knowledge
It’s important to also remember you have the curse of knowledge.
This means because you’re front and center with your industry knowledge, it’s easy to forget that everyone else is operating on the same level of knowledge as you.
I like to use the grandmother test.
I find that if I can explain something I’m doing to my grandmother and she understands it, I can send it to the customer or potential client.
It’s a good rule of thumb to keep handy.
Get Your Team Involved
Communicating with your team is key in providing excellent customer service.
That way everyone understands the steps you’re taking to make customer service a top priority.
Customer-facing team members especially need to understand the boundaries and the goal of service you provide.
If they don’t, they’re not going to be very helpful in keeping customers happy.
Plus, it won’t be their fault!
Offer them regular training sessions that explain on their role and what you expect.
This gives them the tools they need to provide a fantastic experience to customers.
Be Proactive In Reaching Out
Let’s pose a rhetorical question: What is one of the biggest customer service complaints you hear about on a regular basis?
Lack of personal attention.
The good news is that this is something you can fix.
We suggest executives leave their desks to walk around their office or manufacturing floor to get a better feel for the different jobs employees provide.
The same goes for reaching out to customers.
You don’t have to do this for every customer, but as Tony Hsieh talked about in Delivering Happiness, when a leader reaches out to a handful of customers each month, the personal attention level gets bumped about ten notches…every time.
You or your executives should set aside some time on a regular basis to sit in on a meeting (or watch a recording), check in with the front-line team, and contact customers directly.
This keeps everyone in the loop on what works, what doesn’t and how things are perceived.
Maybe none of those tips feel like actual magic, but when you execute each of them, your customers will feel wanted and that in itself can be a little magical.
Have you had a customer experience that you’ve raved about? Let’s hear it. You can always leave your comments here or you can join our Spin Sucks Community on Slack and start a discussion there.