Mastering the Art of Customer Service - dummies

Mastering the Art of Customer Service

By Charles Hannabarger, Frederick Buchman, Peter Economy

Customer service isn’t just the job of your customer service department and representatives; it’s the job of every employee in your company. And service starts at the highest levels of a company.

The four key elements of good customer service are

  • A high level of trust in your company and in the people customers deal with
  • Knowledgeable employees who understand what customers are talking about
  • The company and its employees not wasting customers’ time
  • Friendly employees who go the extra mile for customers

The question is: “How does my company get to a high level of customer service, where the key elements become second nature to my employees?” Here are five steps you must take to achieve great customer service:

  • Make sure that everyone in your company understands and measures the customer experience. Employees must know how their jobs impact the customer, and they must become obsessed with providing satisfaction to the customer.
  • Educate your people about how they should act and treat customers. They must realize the importance of good customer service and what you expect from them.
  • Communicate examples of good customer service to your employees.
  • Make sure that potential and new employees have the kind of customer-service mindset that you want.
  • Deal with employees who can’t or won’t deliver the customer service you need. You can move them to other areas of business or let them go, but you have to take action quickly.

Not dealing with the employees who don’t have a customer-service mindset can be deadly to your company. Bad apples can spoil your efforts to deliver satisfactory levels of service to your customers.

The modern customer is a pretty savvy consumer. He or she hears what you say and promise and then watches closely to see if you deliver. You’ve probably had some experiences as a customer in which a company’s walk didn’t match its talk, and you probably took your business elsewhere. In your business, you have to continually find out whether you’re delivering the things you promise to your customers. It’s natural to want to promise your customers the world, but you can’t do so unless you know that you can deliver the world.

So, how can you find out how you’re doing in the promise-delivery department?

  • Ask your customers for feedback.
  • Keep in close contact with your employees and get their feedback, too. Ask them how they’re doing and solicit ideas about how you could help them do better.