So here are five useful ideas to help your organization stay on top and continue delivering the best service possible to your customers. Each suggestion has an Implementation Idea to help you hit the ground running. Use these as thought-starters to get your own customer service improvement plans up and running.
This means your reason for being in business is to help your customers. So everything you do needs to be held up against this standard. Your actions decisions, policies and procedures need to show this. This creates a culture of service in your company. A company I have worked with says it like this: “in case of a tie, the customer wins.”1. Make sure customer focus is a priority
One easy way to do this is to track your customer’s complaints, concerns and questions. Then compare them to How you do things (your organization’s policies, practices and procedures). How do these lists overlap? The overlap will help you see areas that could use a review or refresh. If you get constant complaints about the same practices, it begs the question, “how customer-focused is this practice?”
2. Use a daily reminder
Help employees deliver top-notch customer service to every customer every time using a daily reminder. Maybe it’s a quote. Maybe it’s an example. Maybe it’s a promise your company makes to your customers. Expose your people to a message of amazing service every day to help them keep it top of mind with every customer.
One of the best tools for this is to send out a daily quote or thought about customer service. There are many sources of quotes available that relate to many different aspects of customer service. Use these to send a daily email or message to your team.
3. Catch employees in the act of delivering Amazing Service
Keep an eye on your team members. When they do something amazing with a customer, notice and remember it. Then thank them. And tell others about it. Build a habit in your organization of paying attention and giving recognition when employees provide great service to customers. Over time this habit will become part of the culture.
To put this idea to work, enlist the help of your whole team. Encourage employees (and customers) to “turn in” employees who deliver amazing customer service. Reward employees for recognizing their peers. Make it something everyone is accountable for doing.
4. Make it easy and convenient for customers to give you feedback
Create at least 5 different ways your customers can tell you how your company is doing. Feedback forms on your website, survey cards, questions from employees. Ask your team to come up with new ways. And make sure your feedback answers these three questions:
- What do customers want from us?
- How are we doing?
- How can we improve?
Note: You don’t have to answer all three questions at once. That would burden employees and customers. But over time, you want your overall feedback system to answer these questions. They form the core of what you need to know to understand where your current customer experience is, where it should be and how you can get it there.
Use current (and fun) technology to engage customers for feedback. Offer them a specific number they can use to text their feedback. Try a QR code on your printed material. Or create a customer-forum or online community. Post specific questions for customers to answer and change them weekly so you keep getting fresh feedback.
5. Make it personal
Find ways to give your customers a personal experience when they do business with you. An easy way is to remember and recognize them. Our local coffee shop has thousands of customers. (One of only two locally owned shops in a city of 63,000). Every time I walk in someone greets me. The owners remember my name. They chat me up a little. And when I leave someone always yells or waves goodbye. Another way is to remember details about them.
If a long-term, loyal customer gets treated like a brand new customer every time, they might wonder if anyone even notices their loyalty. But if you show them you know they’ve been a regular customer, they’ll know how much you value them. And it makes it easier to provide amazing service to them because you know more about them.
Build a culture of personalization by holding your team accountable for it. Make it part of their goals and performance expectations. Inject some fun into it by making it a contest. For example, in a restaurant, you might offer prizes or recognition to employees who get to know their regular customers. (Be careful to not go overboard with this. It needs to be sincere and appropriate – not forced.)
It’s not complicated to deliver better customer service. But it’s not always easy. The best way is often to take it one step (and one idea) at a time.