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Create systems for better customer service

Have you ever received truly exceptional customer service? What was it like and why did you think it was exceptional customer service?

Each experience is different but I bet you can tick off a couple of common characteristics in what happened:-

  • You felt individual attention
  • You felt that every detail of the service or product was meant for your satisfaction
  • You felt that whatever you received was timely
  • You felt that you not only got the product or service, you got that extra something that accompanied it.

Am I right?

Firstly do you see it is about what you felt? Exceptional customer service is not only about the quality of the box you bought, it is about how you felt during the transaction.

Secondly it is about “extras” – and these need not be something tangible like a bonus product. In customer service “extra” is about listening to you as an individual and perhaps providing nothing more extra than a courteous word.

Yet people also get it wrong don’t they? For every instance of exceptional service I would bet you have 10 examples of poor service.

If only every business realised that excellent customer service is not about spending more money or even putting in more effort – it’s about being consistent and predictable in what you offer. That’s it! Consistency and predictability!

Watch this video to see why you should implement simple systems that create excellent customer service.

Now let’s get back to how you should make your customers feel and how that can be done with some simple systems.

Let’s look again at the common characteristics of exceptional customer service:-

  • making the customer feel he is being treated like an individual
  • making every detail of the product feel like it was designed for the customer
  • making each aspect of the product timely
  • making the customer feel like they got extra

Simple systems can be implemented in any business to do this.

Firstly set up a database of customers. Use this to welcome them by name and drop in one thing you know about them. Take the hotel example in the video. What if you had a system in your check-in software that immediately identified the customer if they had stayed before and the receptionist said something like “Hello Miss Jones, welcome back. We haven’t seen you for a couple of months now, I hope you have been well”. What if the receptionist went on to say “I see that last time you needed help with your luggage from your car – shall I call for someone to get the luggage while we check you in?”

You can do the same thing even if you run a business that doesn’t have regular customers. Take a department store – what if your staff had a cheat-sheet behind the counter that told them to say “Hello, I’ll ring that up on the register and then wrap it up for you. Tell me are you continuing your shopping in our store? What if I send this to the lobby to be held for you until you are ready to leave?” All you need to do is make people feel like they are individuals.

You can also include checklists that make your sales staff ask about special requirements. They might have a script that says “Thank you for buying our chainsaw – what will you be using it for?” And when the tell you say “Would you like me to show you how you can do that with this special feature this model has?”

Customer service is all about standard things that show consistency – the type of service I received last month? I want exactly that level of service again, not better, certainly not worse – the same so I know what I get. You can make that happen with checklists, scripts, and training.

So tell me about your experiences. What examples of bad customer service have you received, and what systems would you put into place? And, once we fix everyone else’s business tell me what aspects of customer service in your business you would like to fix?

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