=The key to success in any sector is good customer service – give everyone the best possible experience, and ensure they go away with positive memories. Providing high-quality products or services is essential, but so is the way you treat your customers.
Build good relationships by promoting a helpful and friendly environment. Even something simple, such as smiling and saying thank you at the end of their visit makes sure they leave with the best impression, but above all, customers like to feel valued and appreciated.
According to consumer surveys, a customer who leaves happy will be more likely to return often – and they will also spend more on their visits.
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How do you know if you’re getting it right?
Although we all know the basics and understand what’s expected of us as a business, it’s important to find out what the customers themselves consider to be excellent service.
Businesses must make the effort to find out the customers’ expectations by gathering feedback, such as checking online reviews, to see what people are saying. Follow up on any positive and negative feedback. Don’t ignore customers who criticise your business. Instead, use the feedback to resolve any issues and turn it into a positive.
By continuously looking for ways of improving the level of customer service you provide, it will benefit your business in the long term. Remember too that all customers’ needs are different and what suits one person might not necessarily suit another.
How can employees help?
Employees who use the correct tone and language can put customers at ease and enhance their experience. If employees seem negative, it can impact on customers and reduce their chances of returning.
Open and closed posture
This may reflect an individual’s confidence or status, or even how receptive they are to another person.
Folded arms or positioning yourself at a slight angle to the person you are talking to can translate badly, whereas open posture, when you are directly facing the person you are serving, can communicate an openness and a willingness to listen.
Customers will invariably pick up on any negative vibe.
Too busy to help
Working the shop floor can sometimes be a juggling act, especially when you have just taken receipt of a new delivery. Although it is very important to get new stock priced up and positioned on the shelves, this should never take priority over the customer.
As long as public areas are kept tidy and boxes are put away in a suitable area, the unpacking and organising of new stock must always come second to the customer.
It’s nice when employees get on and enjoy a bit of a chat and a giggle, but this should never be at the expense of the customer. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to wait for shop assistants to finish their conversation before they can be bothered to acknowledge your existence.
When staff can be overheard complaining to each other about their working conditions, what is the customer supposed to think? If they look bored and say they “can’t wait to go home”, this will never make the customer feel valued.
Manners cost nothing
The overall experience, particularly in a retail store, should be a warm and pleasant one, with the employees providing a personal service to ensure each individual feels valued.
A simple, “hello” or “good morning/afternoon” when someone enters the shop will automatically make someone feel acknowledged and important. Likewise, a simple “goodbye” on their way out will help to create a friendly and personable environment, and this in turn will earn more loyalty.
It’s amazing what you pick up on the shop floor when you are actively involved in the customer experience. By taking a genuine interest in the conversations that go on around you, you will likely overhear some very good indicators regarding the things you have right and the things that might need a little more attention.
Give the customer what they have paid for
Always try to imagine yourself in the customers’ shoes.
When anybody parts with their hard-earned cash, they expect to receive their purchase in premium condition and any descriptions on online sites must always be as accurate as possible.
If things get damaged in transit, be sympathetic to the customer and do whatever you can to make the situation right.
Customers appreciate a quick turnaround when they make an online purchase, so try to keep your despatch times to a minimum.
Which companies have the best customer service?
Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, has a reputation for excellent customer service. Its founder, Jeff Bezos, is currently the richest man in the world, with an estimated net worth of $142 billion.
He understands the value of great customer service and the company’s continued success since its launch in 1994 is largely as a result of Amazon pursuing its goal of being the most customer-centric business in the world.
Everyone at Amazon is reminded of their mission, including company CEO Bezos, by spending a few days each year working on the customer service desk and on reception. They must take customers’ calls to ensure they have a thorough knowledge of what the business is all about and how important customer satisfaction is.
First Direct has set itself aside from other banks by introducing new and innovative services for customers. It has helplines that are open 24/7 and it is quick to respond to comments on social media, keeping its finger on the pulse. It never forgets how important it is to make customers feel valued and has won numerous customer service awards.
The Institute of Customer Service ranked First Direct second, behind Amazon, in terms of its customer service in 2018.
Third was Yorkshire Bank, which enhanced its core customer service values to ensure the right member of staff was always in front of the right customer, enhancing its personal service. The customer-focused policy has been paying dividends, as the ICS didn’t rank Yorkshire Bank even in the top 100 before it revamped its customer service policy!
In today’s challenging economic environment, with high street businesses competing against each other and also against rivals online, getting the customer service element correct is absolutely vital. Having excellent customer service can give a company the edge over competitors and can make customers want to come back, time and time again.
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