8 Simple Rules for Good Customer Service

February 21, 2017 by  

Good customer service is truly the lifeblood of any business. You can offer promotions and slash prices to bring in as many new customers as you want, however, unless you can get at least some of those customers to come back, your business won’t be profitable for long.

Good customer service is all about retaining customers. It is also about sending them away happy – happy enough to share positive feedback about your business with others, who may then be encouraged to try your product or service themselves and in their turn become repeat customers.

If you are a good salesperson, you can sell anything to anyone once. However, it is your approach to excellent customer service that determines whether or not you will ever sell that person anything else. The essence of good customer service is forming a relationship with customers, one that makes the customer feel appreciated, listened to, and received what they were searching for.

How can you form this type of relationship?  

You do that by remembering the one true secret of good customer service and acting accordingly; “You will be judged by what you do, not what you say.”
Yes, this verges on the kind of statement that is often seen on a sampler, but providing good customer service is simple to achieve.

If you truly want to have good customer service, all you have to do is ensure that your business consistently does these things:

1) Answer your phone.
Get call forwarding. Or hire an answering service. Hire more staff if you need to. But make sure that someone is picking up the phone when someone calls your business. Customers want to talk to a real person, not a fake “recorded robot or message”.

2) Don’t make promises you cannot keep.
Reliability and accountability are the keys to good relationships, and good customer service is no exception. If you tell them that their new bedroom furniture will be delivered on Tuesday, you need to make sure that it is delivered on Tuesday. Otherwise, do not promise it. The same rule applies to client appointments, deadlines, etc. Think carefully before you making any promises – because nothing annoys customers more than a broken one.

3) Practice Active Listening with your customers.
There is nothing more aggravating than telling someone what you want or what your problem is and then discovering that that person hasn’t been paying attention and needs to have it explained again. From a customer’s perspective, this is the worst! Do away with the sales pitches and the product babble. Instead, let your customer talk and show him/her that you are carefully listening by making the appropriate responses, summarizing what you heard and then suggesting how you can solve the problem.

4) Deal quickly and efficiently with complaints.
Of course no one likes hearing complaints, however, they do occur and must be dealt with respectfully and in the best way possible so that the customer feels they have been appropriately treated. If you give the complaint your full attention, you will likely be able to please this one person and position your business to reap the benefits of that good customer service. When something unfortunate happens, that is when you must solve it in a way that is so memorable that the customer will want to share how you fixed it rather than the problem that happened.

5) Be helpful – even if there’s no immediate profit in it.
The other day I popped into a local eyewear shop because I had lost the nose piece on my glasses. When I explained the problem, the proprietor said that he thought he might have one in the back. He found it, attached it to my glasses and charged me nothing! You can bet that the next time I need new frames for lenses his shop is where I will be going. In addition, of course, I have told many people what he did. Now I am sure the nose piece was not worth a lot, but that does not really matter, he immediately offered to fix it and did so, despite the fact that he had never seen me before. That is excellent customer service!

6) Train your staff to be helpful, courteous, and knowledgeable.
Training is key to good customer service as it not only prepares your staff for just about any eventuality, but it also provides consistency in how customers are treated no matter who deals with them. You can do it yourself or you can hire someone to train them for you, provided you outline the key elements you wish them to take away from the training. It is a good idea to speak with your staff about good customer service and what it would look like. In addition, in order for it to happen, although you must have certain policies and procedures in place, you also need to give them a certain amount of latitude and flexibility so that they can use their own discretion when resolving any issues that may arise. In this way, your employees will not have to to say that they do not know or you will have to wait for the manager. Instead, they will be able to provide a solution that will be able to make the customer happy.

7) Make the extra effort.
For example, if a customer comes into your store and asks for help to find something, don’t just say, “It’s in Aisle 3”. Instead, actually take the customer to the item. Better still, wait and see if he/she has further questions about that particular item or anything else they may need. Whatever that extra effort might be if you want to provide good customer service, be sure to take that extra step to ensure that they feel well taken care of. They may not say so to you, but people definitely notice when someone takes the time to make an extra effort in helping them and will likely tell other people about that experience.

8) Add in something extra.
Whether it’s a coupon for a future discount, additional information on how to use the product, or a just a genuine smile, people love to get more than they expected. In addition, the gesture does not have to be large to be effective. For example, my art framer always attaches a package of picture hooks on the back of every picture she frames. It is just a small thing, but so appreciated.

If you commit to applying these 8 simple customer service rules consistently, your business will become known for its great customer service. The benefits of good customer service; over time it will bring in more new customers and repeat customers than any promotions or price cutting ever would!