Seven Steps to Great Customer Service

Customer Service

The perfect salmon filet at a local café. A product packaged in the perfect shade of blue. People have positive buying experiences every day. Customer service, in a nutshell, is influence translated into delivery and execution. I know everyone’s company is fantastic and everyone customer loves them. But does your customer agree? Here’s seven ways to make sure:

Make customer service a priority. Sounds simple, but it’s a rare find. Making exceptional customer service the backbone of your company’s vision is the key to repeat business. The goal is to “wow” your customer’s expectations.

Know your stuff. Generation Y’s usually scope out your company thoroughly before they ever contact you for a sale. Your Web site should detail your company’s products, services and return policies, if applicable. Customer trust and confidence depend on your ability to know AND show your stuff. Try to anticipate the types of questions that customers will ask. Update and amend your FAQ page frequently.

Smile when you say that. There’s a reason Chick-Fil-A employees present your food with a smile and a “My pleasure.” Not only is it courteous, it creates a positive customer experience. Smiles release endorphins, the “happy hormone,” which makes for a repeat customer.

It’s about the people. Henry Ford famously said, “You can have our cars in any color as long as it’s black.” Today’s customer wants it the Burger King – i.e. their – way. The more you can customize your product or service, the more inroads you’ll make in the marketplace.

Never argue with a customer. You know very well that the customer isn’t always right. However, it is important that you do not focus on the missteps of a particular situation; instead, concentrate on how to fix it. Research shows that 7 out of 10 customers will do business with a company again if that business resolves a complaint in their favor. Research also shows that the instance of repeat business goes up to 95 percent when complaints are resolved on the spot.

Underpromise and overdeliver. Everyone knows this cliché; few actually act on it. It’s much better to do what you can rather than make promises you can’t follow up on. When you deliver your products or services, be sure to check back to ensure that the customer is happy.

When you make a mistake (and eventually, everyone does), say you’re sorry. (See my Truth or Consequences post for more details.)