As far as customer service goes, no truer words were ever spoken. You may not be perfect, you may not get it right every time but if the customer has a positive experience when dealing with your business, they will always return and may just become some of your most loyal advocates. Sylvia Schultz who is the owner of Jet Wash Auto Spa with many years experience in customer service and employee management has 3 key factors for great customer service:
Esthetics – You only get one chance to make a first impression and something as simple as cleanliness creates an impact. Take a look around. Is it clean? Does it look organized? Does it need a fresh coat of paint? If it’s broken fix it. Even something as simple as adding a potted flower plant in front of your store front can really make a difference to your customers’ perception of your business. Perhaps your business goes to the customer not the other way around? Even then, is the company vehicle clean? Is the logo clearly visible? Is there an employee uniform? Professionalism and presentation in any company cannot be undervalued.
Adaptability – This is the “Can Do” approach to dealing with customers. We’ve all had those requests by customers asking for things that we simply can’t do. 9 times out of 10 we simply tell them no and move on. However Sylvia believes that we should always say, “No, but this is what I CAN DO...” For example a customer phones a florist and requests his wife’s favourite flower. The florist does not have it in stock. She could either say, “Sorry we’re all out. I can’t help you.” This would result in zero business for the florist and probably a frustrated customer. Or she could say, “Sorry we’re all out of that particular flower but what is your wife’s favourite colour? Perhaps I could create a bouquet for her using these other flowers that are on sale right now? They’re very lovely and they look amazing!” Completely different outcome by simply thinking outside the box.
If you really can’t do it, can you refer the customer to another business associate? Why not?! Same situation but the customer requests an apple tree for their back yard. The florist obviously can’t do it but perhaps she can refer the customer to a Garden Centre down the street who she knows sells apple trees. A referral creates business for other members in your network, they will respond in kind and the customer will walk away feeling as though their request was accomplished. A winning situation all around.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) – What is measured can be improved. This can be done on several levels. It can be done with employees. Perhaps setting a goal for them to achieve with a reward system in place. For example, improving sales by 10% that week will be rewarded with a free lunch. Have a monthly brainstorming session where ideas can be brought to the table and kudos can be given out for jobs well done. Happy employees are what can make or break a company. Challenging your employees keeps them focused and committed. In turn always remember to acknowledge their efforts, even if it’s just a simple but heartfelt, “Thank you.”
KPI’s can also be done with customers. Ask them to fill out an online survey for a free cup of coffee. Create a Referral/Reward program using discounts or coupons. Encourage them write a review on your Facebook page. It never hurts to ask. If you set clear expectations both employees and customers will respond and may just surprise you.