ArticlesCheryl L Kane, MBA
Customer Comments

Helping Employees Understand Good Customer Service

The final judge of your customer service quality, is your customer. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to equip your employees with a good compass and map, to guide them through customer service initiatives. You cannot prepare an employee for every possible situation. You can define your expectations for the service they are to deliver in a way that helps them figure out what you mean by "good customer service." How?

  1. Clearly state your customer service philosophy to describe your expectations. It serves as a compass to employees in customer transactions. "Customers are our guests in this store," highlights the etiquette and attentiveness you expect a customer to receive. "Our job is to listen to the customer and solve their problems," can help employees think beyond just a product sale. It will prompt them to offer "value-added" insight to the customer about alternate uses for products or available resources that may help them. This unexpected personal interest may be invaluable to your customer, expand your products' use to them, be a path to cross-sell other services, and strengthen their loyalty to your business.
  2. State your policies in terms of service quality standards where it is critical. These become a map to the employee in the most important aspects of service. Instead of saying "Answer the telephone professionally," be specific. Always state your name after the greeting. Never place a customer on hold without telling them what you will be doing, how long the wait will be, and confirm they approve of being placed on hold. Always say "thank you for holding," when you return to a customer on hold. Do not interrupt anyone speaking on the telephone. Only focus on the customer you are speaking to, in person or on the telephone--don't divert your attention to other activities.
  3. Give specific examples of what you mean by "good communication skills." Explain that using a positive approach to communications vs. a negative approach is more effective: tell the customer what you can do, vs. all the things you can't do, to help them. This allows the customer to feel well supported.

Using a good compass and map, an employee is able to navigate through the many customer service transactions they will face. And customers will be able to judge your service as "excellent."

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