The Ten commandments of service
If your business prides itself on giving outstanding customer service you will be attentive to every single element of the customer interaction. From the generation of the lead through to invoice production there are countless opportunities to impress, or otherwise, your potential and customers. And as I have said time after time; details matter.
The sizzle in the sausage of service is how well the people in your team interact with customers, whether face to face. So here is an action for you in your next team meeting. Call all of the people in your business who interact, directly or indirectly, with customers and discuss these ten commandments your customer facing team together (from sales to invoice) and debate these ideas.
In a small business EVERYONE SERVES and EVERYONE SELLS.
Thou shalt own the interaction. You had the conversation, went to the counter or responded to the email. It is YOUR reputation on the line with the customer. Passing them on to another department does not mean you have washed your hands of the situation. Make sure it got resolved to the customer’s satisfaction by checking with the customer.
Thou shalt treat relationship over transaction – The customer is a relationship, not just an order. Each of your customers has a potential lifetime value to the company. How well you serve them will impact how much of that value you realise. Give them a reason to go elsewhere and they will.
Thou shalt seek to understand – The better you know your customers needs, wants and concerns the better you will be able to serve them. Talk less and ask questions more. Listen and learn about your customers. Do not engage in excessive small talk but ask detailed questions about what they want to achieve and how they use your products and services.
Thou shalt Serve and Sell – Sales and service are one and the same activity. The customer does not separate them and nor should you. Take every opportunity to explore their desires and challenges, so your company can serve the customer more deeply and better.
Thou shalt commit to timescales. Male sure in every interaction that the customer knows what is going to happen next and WHEN. Tell them a timescale and either achieve or exceed it.
Thou shalt embrace the love of complaints. Complaints are high grade intelligence about how well your company is doing. Fix the problem for the customer in a way that ‘WOW’s’ them. Then fix the root cause of the problem. Take ownership of fixing the process.
Thou shalt be a font of solutions – Your job is to match and offer solutions to the needs and wants of your customers. Help to solve their problems and bring opportunities to their attention in the spirit of helping them. Share your experiences, offers and the full range of your services with them.
Thou shalt not fill thy customers bag – Every time you get it wrong or leave a customer in the dark you are filling up their bag of problems and unresolved issues. This is customer dis-service. You are there to make their life easier not harder. Do what it takes to get things right first time and, if in doubt, communicate with the customer.
Thou shalt Follow up – When you send a quotation, pricing, products or delivery information follow up with a phone call to make sure they received it and understood it. Always ask for feedback about how your company could serve them better.
Thou shalt Record the interaction – Record any information you gave to or received from a customer on your company systems (and if you don’t have one then start lobbying your boss). Imagine you are going on holiday and someone else needs to see your actions through. Record information at that level of detail. Record anything you learn about your customer that could lead to further sales opportunities or a better relationship with them.Share