Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Debbie Larry-Izamoje: Delivering Excellent Customer Service

Social media is powerful. It can make or mere your business. It is not just someone’s word against yours; it is someone’s word with proof, against yours. We all know that bad news travels faster than good; meaning if your company is ever portrayed as bad, you rarely ever have time to defend yourself before the public concludes that you should not be worked with. Therefore, you lose potential clients because of mistakes that could have been avoided.
In August 2016, I wrote an article on customer service and the importance of getting it right at the very early stages of your business. In the article I discussed the importance of creating ease for customers and how you might want to evaluate your customer service if your business is suffering from a setback or revenues are stagnant.
In this article, we will now focus on tips that will aid your customer service so that you don’t end up “trending” for the wrong reasons on social media.
Treat Your Staff Well
Weird that this is the first point right? But as an entrepreneur you must first of all understand that great customer service begins with you. You must lead by example. If you want your employees to begin work at 8am it means that at 8am you should be there too. Your employees must be constantly reminded that you own the vision and the company will keep running as long as you live
If you’re preaching the importance of excellent customer service at your company, it means you should be at the forefront of this, treating each customer with respect, communicating properly and much more.
You cannot be telling employees to greet customers, pick up calls on time, while you snob these same customers and cross your legs when they walk into your store.
You should also be relatable as a leader. Your employees should be satisfied with working conditions as this will always show in the way they handle the tasks they are responsible for. Treat your employees the way you will want them to treat your customers.
Your employees matter too; if you handle them disrespectfully in front of customers, they may further damage your business. To ensure employees are giving great customer service, make sure you reward them. Talk to them often to know what their problems with dealing with customers or even your leadership are.
Be Transparent
Being transparent with clients will save you a lot of stress! I’m yet to understand why brands feel the need to lie about their abilities. A simple “I cannot do it, but I will refer you to someone else who can” will lead you a long way, give you peace and retain customer relationship.
The business owners or employees who try to act “smart” are the ones who always end up on social media pages for wrong reasons. Be transparent with your customer.
Never take your customers for granted
Tone Words & Body Language
The customer is always right! And potential customers are right most of the time. What does this mean? If someone has paid for your service, you owe it to him or her to give your all and represent your brand positively.
If you do not agree that customers are always right it will have an impact on how you deal with clients even when they are right. To you, customers may not always be right, but the customer holds the money. They are the future of your business. Your strategy should be making your customers think they are right even when they are clearly wrong.
Ensure you deal with clients with your ears and not your mouth first. Meaning listen more and speak less. Do not interrupt clients when they speak. Whenever there are customer disputes, use the 5 A’s technique in resolving them.
  • Accessible: Be accessible at all times, create channels in which customers can reach you with ease
  • Acknowledge the problem.
  • Apologize: Do so at all times, even if you think you’re right.
  • Accountability: make sure you accept responsibility.
  • Adjust: Make sure there is a solution to that problem and those customers feel satisfied with the solution. After adjusting the situation ensure you always follow up with clients. 
Document the Interaction for Future Development
Make sure that your front line employee is capable of making a good first impression. First opinions are formed within the first 10 seconds this means they must be trained. Documentation can serve as case studies during the training process of new employees to ensure improvement and consistency.
Teach employees about phases that sound appealing to consumers e.g “how may I help” “hope you have all you need” “will that be all” adding sir/ma when attending to customers “I will keep you updated” “that will be done immediately”

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