By Graham Roberts-Phelps
1. Whatever you do, do it fast
In a world where everything is fast, and everything is time based, speed will give you the competitive advantage. Time is the scarcest commodity in the world. So when dealing with your customers deliver fast service which adds value, it shows you care and it secures trust.
2. Positive communication
Take responsibility for your communication – the purpose of your communication is the response you get. Speak the customer’s language and cut out jargon. Make written communications short, specific and simple. Talk benefits not features.
Use side by side language
“I see what you mean”
“Let’s see what we can do about this” “I would be as concerned as you are”
“I’m sure we’ll be able to find a solution” “Do you see any possibilities that I haven’t considered?”
Positive phrases get positive results
- I can…
- You can..
- I will…
- Will you please…
- Could I ask you to…
3. The personal touch
You build a business, one customer at a time; one contact at a time. People like to deal with people they like, know and trust. Always be courteous and be polite. Use the customer’s name regularly in conversation. Accommodate customers special requests wherever possible. Get to know your customers all of them. These are simple keys to building trust, respect and loyalty.
4. Keeping customers
68% of customers go elsewhere because the people they deal with are indifferent to their needs. The cost of attracting a new customer is FIVE times as much as keeping a new one.
What are you doing to keep your existing customers happy?
5. Turn complaints into opportunities
Complaints are opportunities in work clothes. Problems are wake-up calls to let you know something is wrong. Customers who complain are people of value, they want to stay customers and are simply telling you how to achieve it and keep them customers.
6. Create moments of truth
Customers are only interested in two things: solutions to problems and making them feel good.
Everything counts, each time you meet or contact (or don’t contact!) your customer, your status in the mind of that customer is either improving or diminishing.
7. Exceed expectations
How often do your customers go WOW? The world is full of mediocrity. Any idiot can do something a little cheaper or quicker, it takes vision and commitment to make or do something better. Don’t do anything if you can’t do it excellently! Establish clear expectations and then exceed them.
8. Systems are as important as smiles
Make quality your number 1 priority. Customer service and quality should be a part of everybody’s job. Lead by example and set quality customer service objectives and goals. Reward customer service excellence.
9. Follow up and follow through
You don’t know how well you are doing unless you ask. Surprise the customer and show you are interested in their opinion. This directs the attention to the quality of your service. Gives you directional feedback and draws your customer’s attention to just how good you really are.
Competence wins every time. Training is not a cost, it’s an investment. Standardise systems to ensure consistency. Think through processes and methods to pre-empt all situations. Aim for success and plan for failure.