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January 2011

 

Customer Service Strategies and Solutions

Good customer service is more than personal courtesy and a quality product.  Although, to be sure, it cannot exist without these traits. 

We are going to go beyond traits and attributes, and address customer service as a process, almost as if it were alive.  We have isolated ten key areas from our favorite authors, and arranged them in the order they would occur in the process, the order that brings them to life.

As with any living thing You determine what it is and where it will be useful.  You let it practice its abilities and help refine its habits so that they are most effective.  Once You refine its abilities You must put it into place, and You must give it Your full support.

Do you want to achieve real advances in customer service?  Try these strategies:

Key Customer Service Strategies

1. “What business are you in?”

You must answer the question “what is our ‘dominant business purpose?’”  Why does your business exist?  You must decide the meaning of life for your business, then write it down in one or two paragraphs, photocopy it, and wallpaper your facility with it.

2. “Dig your well before you’re thirsty.”

You must recognize value in your customers.  You must “see value long before it’s recognized in the marketplace.”  Then win your customer’s loyalty before a bidding war develops for it.

3. “Knowing something about your customer is just as important as knowing everything about your product.” 

You must learn “what your customer really wants.”  Not just what style or color, but why that style, what is it about that color which means something personal to the individual customer.  How do you find this information?  Ask The Customer! !

4. “The only two things people ever buy.”

“Good feelings, solutions to problems.”  Are you guaranteeing these will still exist after the customer gets home?  If not, go back to number 3 and get to know the customer better.

5. “Measurement of Service”

Once you have made your commitment in # 4 you must give “birth to a concrete measurement of customer service.”  Short-term trends in sales can be influenced by a million factors.  You must find and record information about the customers' opinions before, during, and after (long after) the sale.  Where do you begin?  Let’s look at number 6.

6. To keep customers for life ask the platinum questions:  How are we doing?  How can we get better?”

Part of the effort is the simple act of letting the customer know you care.  Ask simple questions.  Have upper management and owners ask them.  Demonstrate that the answers are being put to use immediately.

7. “Little things don’t mean a lot; They mean everything.”

Once you have gotten a sincere answer to any question about a need or desire of a customer then you must focus your efforts on “attention to detail or common courtesy.”  All other things being equal, the customer will buy the human factor - so let them see it in your business.

8. “There’s no future in saying it can’t be done.” 

Lets face it, you can’t do everything.  That being said, you have to learn to “take chances” and teach your staff to do the same.  Maybe it can’t be done, but the fact that you tried when no one else would Will give you the edge of the human factor we discusses in number 7.  And who is to say it can’t be done?  You are the best at what you do!  Demonstrate it!

9. “Be ready to do handsprings to resolve each perceived service failure.”

Remember: “A customer who experiences a problem is not necessarily a lost customer.”  A customer with a problem is an opportunity, even an asset to your business.  Give them the same attention and resources you would to any business opportunity.

10. “Words into action: Leadership.”

You must “make service everybody’s business and empower workers to make on-the-spot decisions in the customer’s interest.  No company can produce outstanding service unless its top managers are visibly, constantly, and sometimes irrationally committed to the idea.”  This is where You breathe life into the body you have formed from the clay of your business.

Whether you are a stock boy or the president of an international conglomerate You Must take the lead in breathing life into your business.  If you are reading this article then you have the ability to do what it takes.  Get to work.

 



 

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