Customer service is one of the principal reasons we enjoy the Northwest like we do. Businesses and restaurants around the area usually offer pretty good service. In this still slower economy, service is the key differentiator against the competition for any retail and service business. As we head into the busy holiday season, customer service can often make or break a sale and the bottom-line.
It is often the reputation and the quality of the relationships that keep that businesses going as we head into the New Year. In establishments where careless mistakes happen, the customer who is unhappy can share the poor experience across social media, a disaster for the company in any case.
Unfortunately, clients seem to remember bad experiences more readily than the good ones, and they will tell a multitude of other people about the problems in great detail. Surprisingly, good experiences often never get a mention; although the great ones can often get you to the top of best reputation list.
Dale Carnegie Training offers five ingredients in service that make customers happy during the holidays and all year long:
- Pay attention in a positive way: Business success and clients go hand-in hand. Focusing while on a call, or when at the counter using smiles and eye contact can indeed truly make the difference in the total experience. In a restaurant, just a wink or a wave to someone in line will give patrons additional patience until they can be greeted properly.
- Use real people on the phone: A live person who can listen and help with client questions and concerns is essential in communication. People calling for a reservation, problem, or question need to be reacted to quickly; this is very important during the holiday season.
- Be patient in every situation: Listening, understanding and control are true customer service virtues. Employees who are upbeat manage customers better. Employees must own the situation and manage it in positive ways.
- Promise only what can be delivered: Honesty is indeed the best policy. Overpromising is always the flipside of under-delivering. Do what you can do and do it right every time. Consistency is critical.
- Truth: No matter the issue or concern, always tell the truth. Presenting disinformation to satisfy a customer is never the right thing to do. In time they will be back with a vengeance.
Good customer service is a continuous best practice. In your next pre-holiday employee meeting bring this post up. It is a recipe for increasing business and opportunity.
This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training Northwest, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in the Northwest. We’d love to connect with you on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Photo: stuart miles, freedigitalphotos.net