I don't know about you, but I get annoyed with people who talk on their cell phones while in a checkout line. I also get a bit annoyed by the poor customer service delivered by many in the service industry. Perhaps the rudeness is a function of no one paying attention and therefore no one delivers good customer service.
I can tell you though, as a business owner you need to set the standards high for yourself and for your employees on what you expect for the customer service they (and you) deliver. In the past when someone said they set themselves apart from the competition based on their level of customer service it was a cliche. It is no longer a cliche because too many business owners are providing shoddy service.
What can you do to be one of the business owners who sets himself apart from the crowd as it relates to the customer service your business delivers? Here are my ideas:
- Be that business owner who actually answers his phone. Don't screen your calls or have a caller navigate a phone menu. Answer the phone. It's as simple as that.
- Listen to your clients. If they come to you with a problem, listen to what they have to say before you start offering solutions.
- If you can't deliver then don't say you can. It's better to turn down a gig than to accept it knowing your chance for follow through is slim. You will get more respect by saying, "I don't have the bandwidth for that but I know someone who does." What you've done is two fold -- you've offered to help your client find a solution or a service provider and you have made a referral to a colleague.
- This may be a cliche but go the extra mile. So many service providers do what they said they would and that's that. If you take that additional step, offer an add on service, send a thank you -- you have gone the extra mile and that will be remembered.
- Provide an add on service. If you have something you can provide as an add on free of charge -- that won't break the bank or too much of your time, do it. Your client will remember that and will recommend you to his colleagues, perhaps based on that add on.