How important is outstanding customer service?
Wednesday, August 07, 2013
Posted by: Rhette Baughman
In the June issue of the Arizona Small Business Association(www.asba.com) magazine, the CEO of Benjamin Franklin, the Punctual Plumber, Linda Stanfield, (www.benjaminfranklinplumbing.com) laid out some really good reasons about the importance of excellent customer service to the success of a business. The ASBA board member talks about thinking outside the box and bending the rules, if necessary, to keep a customer happy.
In a small business especially, customers may expect to work a lot with the owner. If possible, the business owner should try to accommodate them because it makes customers feel important, Stanfield writes. When the owner is too busy to be involved, then Stanfield urges a business to give employees the authority to resolve customer issues quickly in order to keep the customer happy. Her reminder of how its takes less time to resolve issues with existing customers than it takes to find new ones is right on.
When customers have ideas for you, Stanfield urges, listen to them and take the ideas to the business team. If these ideas are adopted let the customer know what a valuable role they played in the changes. At her business they added Sunday services because customers told them it was hard to take time off during the week and they wanted services on the weekend.
It pays to listen in everyday interaction with people, but good listening skills are even more important with your customers. Stanfield says you must listen carefully to make sure a customer gets everything out to you he or she wants to get out and that you understand what they are saying. Connect with customers by using phrases such as "I understand your frustration” or "You’re right it’s a hard position to be in.” And watch how you say things because your tone is noticed by people.
Stanfield says accept responsibility when mistakes are made. "Acknowledge what happened and don’t defend it,” she said. "Most importantly, let them know that the entire team will be informed of the issue.” Don’t make the mistake twice! Then do something special for the customer, like take them to dinner or give them a gift certificate.
If your company offers guarantees, be sure you stand behind them. "When you don’t uphold you guarantee, your company’s reputation declines and the company is at risk of losing customers and revenue,” Stanfield writes.
Source: The Examiner