Customer service can make or break your business and business reputation. Learning how to communicate effectively with your customers is essential to providing great customer service. As a savvy woman in business, have you made the time to develop an effective customer service plan?
When we think of customer service, we often picture the typical movie scenario of a disgruntled customer standing at the return counter yelling at a helpless employee. Customer service is more than a return counter and one lonely employee. Committing to providing exceptional customer service must be an ongoing part of your day-to-day business life. Excellent customer service should be present during each phone call, apparent in each newsletter and a part of each product transaction.
Whether you are a solo entrepreneur, have a small storefront business or work at a large corporation, customer service begins with a plan of action. Great customer service is about consistency – knowing how to treat each customer with courtesy and respect, no matter the situation.
Here’s how to develop your customer service plan of excellence:
1. Understand who your customer is and what they expect from what you are offering. This means getting to know your “ideal” customer or client. Ask yourself this:
- Who will be using my product or service and why will they be using it?
- What benefits does my customer expect to receive from this product or service?
- What results am I “promising” them as a result of using my product or service?
2. Customer service begins with the first contact with you, your company and your product. Customer service begins at the networking meeting when you first meet a prospective customer, the first impression delivered by your company website or blog or, as a customer purchases your product by website or phone. Customer service begins with the first impression you and your company makes on your customer.
3. What is your philosophy and policy regarding customer service? Have you made the time to write out your feelings about how your potential and current customers should be treated? Do you have customer service policies in place? If you have employees, do they understand your customer service plan?
4. Do you make sure your customers feel listened to and appreciated? It takes more effort to attract new customers than it does to keep a current customer. How do you stay in contact with your current and past customers? How do you follow up after a purchase has been made? We all want to be appreciated – it is a basic human emotion! What do you do to regularly appreciate your customers?
5. Remember the golden rule of great customer service: Treat every customer the way you would like to be treated. Every customer wants to know that if something goes wrong, you care and will handle it in a timely and courteous manner.
Bottom line: Your business is dependent on satisfied customers and, your customers want and expect exceptional customer service. In today’s competitive marketplace, customer service can literally make or break your business.
Note: If you want to see real-world examples of companies who have built their businesses with exceptional customer service, take a look at Nordstrom, Neiman-Marcus and Amazon.com. All three companies have excellent reputations for providing great customer service.
Share your thoughts with us on our Business Coach Forum:
Direct link to the Business Coach Forum
Here is a direct link to Amazon.com and two customer service books you may find interesting and helpful:
1. Available as a paperback: Customer Service Training 101: Quick and Easy Techniques That Get Great Results
2. This one is available in hardcover and audio: Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service
Disclosure: As an affiliate of Amazon.com I will get paid on any purchase of this product from the links within this article.