During similar workshops on Sustainable Customer Service Strategy, when asked to provide ten benefits, each group develops lists. There is sometimes very little overlap with the input from other groups. Even when consolidated, the final ‘list’ from each workshop varies considerably. This reflects the wide range of benefits perceived in providing a sustainable customer service programme.
If you go to our home-page and then press the blog tag, once you are in that section you’ll see a column down the right and there you’ll notice ‘categories’. Thus it is easy to click the ‘customer service’ section and all the blogs on customer service will appear. If you scroll down, you’ll notice that there have been two blogs on ‘The benefits of excellent Customer Service’ and these arose from workshops held in Johannesburg on July 22 2011 and Durban, July 26 2011. Isn’t it interesting how different those two lists are?
Then have a look at two more lists below. These refer to recent ‘Sustainable Customer Service Strategy’ workshops co-presented with Leon Grové of Leverage and Growth in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. In the first workshop we consolidated ‘tips’ and in the second, ‘benefits’.
June 27 2012 - Pietermaritzburg
Tips on Customer Service
- Recruit the right staff – people whose ‘value systems' and ‘work ethic’ are in line with the corporate culture. Then train them.
- Consistently implement values and principles. Capture the minds of the staff and get ‘buy in’.
- Encourage a culture of improvement including training and reading.
- Clearly identify and define customer needs. Develop an attitude of ‘customer focus’ and ‘customer orientation’ as this is critical to success.
- Communicate effectively with customers. Handle feedback from customers timeously and act on it where practical and beneficial. Let the customers know what steps you have taken.
- Behave in a professional manner and at all times uphold the company image. Strive for success in a harmonious way.
- Act in a respectful way, being aware of cultural differences and perceptions.
- Be agile in your approach. Recognise and optimise opportunities in the shortest amount of time possible. Respond to market changes and respond to new products.
- Deliver what you promise and continuously improve wherever possible. But be consistent in maintaining your standards.
- Interact with external and internal customers on a personal basis, thus building positive relationships. Visit people. Use the telephone more. Use e-mail less.
- The sale is part of a process and even when your product or service is in the field, and money in the bank, there is still part of the process to complete. Provide excellent and consistent after-sales service. This keeps customers happy and enhances the value of your products.
- Set up an informal task team and key people to regularly fine tune processes and implement new ones. Use all available resources to get the job done. Tailor service to suit customers’ specific needs through use of technology.
July 5 2012 - Durban
Excellent customer service:
- Has to be built into the mission statement so that it becomes a focus for staff and customers. This needs to be visible to help everyone ‘live’ the mission.
- Develops, builds and sustains long-term positive relationships with internal and external customers.
- Encourages customers to be loyal and supportive and these customers pay!
- Ensures that customers enjoy the experiences involved in dealing with you and your business.
- Creates a framework of positive relationships where there is an ‘absence of malice’ when things go wrong. There can also be a direct means of dealing with issues (e.g. ‘Hello Peter’).
- Provides a way to handle complaints correctly so that dissatisfied customers can become loyal customers.
- Generates a sense of personal achievement. Improved morale leads to growth through increased turnover.
- Gives customers a way to positively refer future potential customers to you. Reputation for excellent customer service captures new customers.
- Incorporates ‘following up’ and this reminds customers of our existence and generates more business.
- Gives a competitive advantage enabling this business to become the ‘preferred supplier’ and a market leader through an increased share of the market. This safeguards the business as it becomes more sustainable in the long term.