Customer service is now a big issue with businesses around the world and right next-door. Why?  Well, there is barely a product or service which nowadays cannot be copied or replicated in double quick time – given patent laws (and how much lawyer you get for your pound).

‘Me-Too’ productisation is now perfectly acceptable as the Marketing people tell us that the ‘second bite of the apple is just as juicy as the first’ (that is, why go to the cost of re-invention when you can duplicate what is already successful – without the R&D cost?).

So the difference between so-called competing services and products is how it is served rather than the product itself. That’s the difference.

For the same reason, Internal Customer Service is now just as big an issue. If you think that you can give any old Internal Service ‘within’ the company without any impact to External Customer Service, you’re mistaken!

So how can we deliver Exceptional Customer Service?  Here are some key points:

A visible commitment from the very highest in the firm

Walking the Talk.  The presentations, the emails, the vision and values statements in reception – all good.  But they are nothing alongside how you go about your job, day in and day out.  They are watching you, more than they are listening to you.

Returning the calls/emails

How’s your Response?  The quality and speed with which you respond to your customer tells them how keen you are to serve them.

You decide the Service, they decide the Satisfaction

Satisfying Customers, one at a time.  What do you know about what will satisfy your customer?  And what are you doing about it?  Whether inside or outside the organisation, make sure that the service satisfies.

People buying from People they like

How is your rapport ? If you don’t adapt and connect to the customer in a way that                  makes them think you’re interested, movement forward will be slow at most. People              buy people before they buy product.

Is Proactive and ‘pushes out’ great service

Don’t just serve as a response.  Understand your customer in every stage of their journey in using your products and services and keep topping it up with great service,  It’s not enough to wait on the call anymore  …… Add Value Now.

Quality standards, measurement and appraisal….

How are we doing?  Our Customers decide.  Show them that you’re interested, genuinely interested in their view.  And even better when you show them that you’ve acted on it.

…..and sometimes being a little flexible

The computer says ‘No’.  The system serves …… but sometimes we need to go beyond it.  Know the value of flex and operating on the margin of what the system/computer is built for.

Focuses on what can be done (not on what cannot)

You cannot do everything.  But you can choose to do anything.  Choose what can be done and maximise its benefits for your customer.  Thinking positively and outside the box delivers the full service value in the business.

Listen

No, really Listen ….. now, you’re building rapport.  They will know when you’re not and they will know when you’re trying to avoid.  Listen and respond – and they will know that whether you can serve them or not, that you are on their side.

Quick Apologies and Quick Problem Solving

Messing up is human.  Avoiding the admission of this is also human.  This does not make it justifiable.  Apologise sincerely, account for it and say what you’re going to now do as a result.  It might be painful to admit the occasional error but put the client relationship first.