In this article, writer Micah Solomon makes the case for developing a customer service approach that is comprehensive and organized. Developing a plan, and taking your time at developing a plan, will yield results but, as is so often the case in business, time is short. The author offers some easy, first steps, which we’ve distilled into 9 questions:
- What happens on your phones? Set some standards of behavior delete “and practice guidelines” for those who deal with customers on the phone.
- How’s your front entrance? The entrance people use to enter your business should be perfect. Examine yours and fix any problem areas such as cigarette butts on the sidewalk, lack of parking, unclear signage, etc.
- What happens to customers before they actually come in your door? Make sure your website and other marketing tools show the correct open hours for your business and contains accurate directions to find you, for example.
- How is your website? Can a visitor easily see how to contact you from that website and, if you have a contact form there, are employees viewing entries quickly?
- What do customers find about you online? Bad reviews, low ratings, negative comments on social media sites all affect the number of people who do business with you. Make sure you know what’s out there and fix it when you can.
- What do employees and management say? You should be hearing about how your employees went the extra mile for a customer rather than hearing employees or management complain about how customers try to take advantage of you.
- Can you learn from each other? Begin regular meetings where employees discuss a particular customer service issue or problem. Keep these meetings brief but regular enough to ingrain the habit for employees to pay attention to each other.
- Are you hiring the right people? You need to be scientific about your hiring decisions. Never go by “gut” feeling. If you seek a certain personality type because they can provide stellar customer service, develop a program that enables you to hire those types of people.
- Are you setting unnecessary restrictions? Examine your employee handbook or policies for outdated restrictions on dress or jewelry that won’t matter in your customer service efforts. In the end, it’s the employee’s demeanor and overall attitude about life that will shine through when serving customers.