We are all very much aware that we are in the middle of a history making economic downturn. As business owners, we may be frantically searching for the perfect survival formula. Given the current turmoil that has been thrust upon us, there is much going on that we can not control. Fortunately though, there are still some things we can control. One of the key elements of this survival formula is the consistent delivery of Outstanding Customer Service.
Many businesses have been fortunately to have enjoyed several years of prosperity. In those booming economic times, even the most conscientious business owner can get a little complacent. It is times like these that give us a bit of a wake up call. Difficult times remind us to do what we should have been doing all along.
So, let's talk about where we go from here. It's time to take control of the elements of our business that make the most impact. Most importantly, it's critical to remember that you control who you hire, how you train them and the expectations you set for them. If you communicate the expectation that delivering Outstanding Customer Service is not only a priority but a requirement, set an example, and then give your employees the tools to provide that level of service, you'll have a serious leg up on your competition.
You know that your customers have options and in a contracting economy where increasing our marketing budgets may not be an option, attracting and retaining customers through providing outstanding service is a low cost, sure fire course of action.
When customers are swarming through your doors, you may be able to afford to offer mediocrity but that is no longer an option. Whether you are dealing in necessities or disposable income, it is survival of the fittest and the fittest will now be those who offer the absolute best in Customer Service.
Below are 5 simple strategies every business can use to help ensure that an outstanding level of service is being provided on a consistent basis.
5 Keys to Providing Outstanding Customer Service
1. Pull out all of the stops to make your customers feel welcome. This begins the second they walk in the door. How does your business look? Smell? Are your customers satisfied with a friendly smile and a hospitable attitude?
2. Go the extra mile to take care of your customers' needs. Outstanding service means exceeding our customers' expectations. Wow them every time. Encourage employees to make it their own personal challenge. They will find it incredibly rewarding and it will boost your bottom line.
3. Make absolutely sure you make your customers feel appreciated. Is it "thank you" or "no problem"? This has become a cultural phenomenon, much like Brangelina. Our customers thank us as we hand them their merchandise and often times our employee's response is an off-handed "no problem". This is likely well intentioned but do we ever want to even insinuate that we were put out by having to help them. Let's take a page from the 1950's handbook and respond with a proper "you're welcome" or "thank you and come again."
4. Be sure to always invite your customers back. Take this opportunity to invite them back for upcoming events, new merchandise arrivals, or just to show that you appreciate them.
5. Walk the Walk. Communicate to employees that the consistent delivery of Outstanding Customer Service is not just a priority but is a requirement. Demonstrate that in your actions and then be sure to give them tools to do it. Talk about it, train it, express and explain the expectations over and over again. And always reward excellence.