Making The Most Of Customer Service

Jonathan Farrington
 


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Customer care has become one of the most important issues facing businesses in every market. Customer care programmes come under a number of titles - customer services, customer satisfaction, customer focus, customer orientated etc.

Their common theme is meeting the customer’s requirements and ensuring that all aspects of the business contribute to customer satisfaction. The intention is to build repeat business if customers are satisfied with the product and the standards of service they receive, they will return again and again.

Inconsistent Customer Care

Inconsistent customer care performance can have a negative effect on customer perceptions. Petrol companies for example, know that every time a customer walks into one of their outlets, wherever they are in the country, they should expect to receive the same standards of service. Nation-wide consistency is essential when customers are likely to visit multiple outlets – one poor performance can threaten the customer’s perception of the entire operation.

What Is Customer Care?

Customer care is about addressing three sets of requirements:

  • Customer

  • Staff

  • Organisation

    These requirements are interrelated, i. e. it is more difficult to deliver consistently high standards in customer care if the needs of both the organisation and the staff are not taken into account

    Customer Requirements

  • Excellent personal service - feels valued, listened to, treated as an individual

  • Products that meet expectations

  • Encouragement to express views and give feedback

  • Effective relationship with the organisation

  • Problems and complaints are handled effectively

    Staff Requirements

  • Effective management style

  • Suitable working environment - pay and conditions / tools for the job

  • Relevant training to develop skills

  • Career potential

  • Clarity of role / job description

  • Performance standards and appraisal systems

  • Sense of involvement / value

  • Open communication

  • Teamwork

  • Rewards / Recognition

    Organisational Requirements

  • Mission statement

  • Corporate structure

  • Feedback and communication systems

  • Profit

  • Human and technical resources

  • Demonstrated commitment

    Who Are Your Customers?

    If you are not serving the customer, you should be serving someone who is. Harmonious relationships with customers and colleagues are essential to service success, because providing outstanding customer service is primarily a team effort. For excellent customer service to exist it has to be practised on an internal basis

    The What And The How

    The “What” is the material and the “How” is the personal element. To be outstanding, organisations must deliver excellence in both material and personal service. Customer service is no longer just a question of interpersonal skills

    The difference between you and your competitors is achieved when expectations are exceeded. Doing the unexpected, going the extra mile, moves us from meeting expectations to exceeding expectations

    How To Delight Customers:

  • Be enthusiastic enthusiasm is the driving force of quality service. Customers do not just want products they want products plus enthusiasm

  • Be professional the word professional does not go with the job it goes with the person

    Be The Best

  • Someone, somewhere has to be the best at this job - why not me?

  • Decide to be outstanding

    How To Be The Best

  • Use positive self talk - e. g. tell yourself ‘Everyday in every way, i get better and better’

  • Don't be ordinary

  • Develop a ‘How can I do it better?’ mind set

    Today Everyone Sells

    In a successful company the number of sales people equals the number of employees

  • Everyone sells something - either products, services or the image of the company

    And Finally: How To Help Yourself Sell

  • Pay attention - give people the benefit of your attention

  • Customers like to give their business to those who show they want it

    Copyright © 2006 Jonathan Farrington. All rights reserved

    Jonathan Farrington is the Managing Partner of The jfa Group . To find out more about the author or to subscribe to his newsletter for dedicated business professionals, visit: http://www.jonathanfarrington.com

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