Servicing a customer is a part of every purchase and interaction with internal and external contacts. It can last a few seconds up to hours. So if we all do it and experience it everyday in almost everything we do, why isn’t good customer service the norm?
Honesty is the Best Policy. Integrity – Be honest and own up to your mistakes. Communicate what you plan to do to change or prevent the same mistake from happening again. Don’t be fooled into believing that a regular ‘mea culpa’ will get you off the hook. At some point the plan to fix the problem must take effect!
Break Glass in Case of Fire. Response Time – The best tact is to quickly get on the phone with the customer to explain your company’s mistake. Don’t rely on email for this communication if it can be done quickly one on one. If you are communicating to a large customer base then email is certainly the fastest and most effective way to quickly notify your customers that you are aware of the problem. Frequent updates is there is a protracted issue and a brief overview of how you will prevent it from happening in the future will give your customers confidence that you are aware of the customer impact.
Keeping it Real. Set a Realistic Expectation – Customers who have been promised something that isn’t delivered as promised are far more frustrated and disappointed than if they are notified at the outset they won’t have it sooner than later. In other words, under promise and over deliver is the best policy. This may take some arm wrestling with other departments who want to take a feature or product to market before it is ready. Set the expectations correctly internally as to what the fallout may be so everyone understands the impact to customer satisfaction and ultimately customer retention.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Everyone in your company should love your customers. Without them, you have no company. This doesn’t mean you won’t have difficult customers who will push the limits and try everyone’s patience. But if you don’t have a company philosophy to respect and appreciate your customers, the opposite tone will infect customer interactions from all departments. All departments, customer facing or not, should care about customer satisfaction.
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