1. Be better than average. Amazing companies don’t always deliver “Wow!” type experiences. No, they are just a little better than average – all of the time. All of the time is the secret. Anyone can be good or great once in a while. It’s the consistency that makes them amazing.
2. Pay attention to details. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest impact. Figure out the details that your customers enjoy and make them a routine part of doing business with you.
3. You may not be the owner, but you should care like you’re the owner. Not all owners or executives make great leaders, but the ones that are should be emulated. Watch how they take pride in how they deal with customers and employees. Then copy them. Act and care like you are the owner.
4. Analyze when things go right. When a company receives a complaint people usually have discussions to find out what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening again. Next time you receive a letter of praise, meet to find out what went right and how it can be repeated. Don’t, as the cliché goes, just learn from mistakes.
5. Focus on 100% wallet share. A loyal customer is a repeat customer, but may still buy from your competition. The ultimate loyal customer is a repeat customer that buys what you sell, but only from you, and not your competition. So, what are you doing right now that is going to make sure the customer, the next time they need what you sell, will come back – the next time, every time?
6. Use social media to enhance your customer service by sending value added messages, creating users groups and monitoring what others are saying about you.
7. Create a consistent experience. One sure way to erode loyalty is to deliver an inconsistent customer service experience. One time it’s great. The next time it is barely average. And, the next time it may be great again. Inconsistency creates uncertainty. Uncertainty erodes confidence. Lack of confidence leads to lack of trust. All of that leads to giving a customer a reason to consider your competition.
8. “Peoplize” your business. (I made that word up.) People do business with people. Make it personal. Customers should want to do business with you because of you and your employees. Make your customers “feel at home.” You may have a great location, cool displays, great signage, etc. That’s all great, but if your people can’t make your customers feel welcome and appreciated, all of the other “stuff” doesn’t matter.
9. Experience your own customer service. If possible, personally mystery shop your own company. Find out how easy you are to do business with through your own experience. Sure, you can hire a company to do surveys and mystery shopping, but learning through your own experience can be an eye opening experience.
10. Create a customer service culture, and it starts by setting an example and practising what I call, “The Employee Golden Rule” which is: Treat your employees the way you want the customer treated – maybe even better. By the way, everybody should practise this as when it comes to customer service, everyone is a leader.
Bonus: Don’t forget to say, “Thank you!” It would be remiss of me not to remind you to show appreciation. You can thank a customer in person, on the phone, with a thank you note, an email… You get the idea.
Now it’s up to you. Choose one customer service strategy to start with. Have a meeting around it. Discuss how to implement it. Then, do it!
Here’s to 2012 being your best customer service year ever!
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314) 692-2200 or http://www.hyken.com/ . For information on The Customer Focus™customer service training programs go to http://www.thecustomerfocus.com/ . Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)