Power to the People: Customer Service in the 21st Century
Updated: Dec 8, 2022
In a fast-moving world of instant and public communication and high expectations for immediate satisfaction, our customers have the power to influence our reputations, for better or for worse. Facebook and Yelp and Twitter are this century’s word-of-mouth, reaching far more people than ever before. While “customer service” may be one of the oldest tenets of good business, it’s getting more and more complicated.
Great reviews can generate positive energy and a growing customer base, but nothing stings more than the public comments of an angry customer. I’ve worked my fair share of retail positions and spent many years in the corporate world, and I’ve never had a job description that didn’t highlight customer service as an integral component of my work. I expect most of you can say the same. But “the customer is always right” falls short as a viable path to service excellence and business growth. It’s up to each company to adapt to the new arena we find ourselves in.
Setting Expectations: Be clear about your mission and your service standards. Good customer service doesn’t mean you always say “yes,” but it does mean clarifying expectations and finding the right ways to say “no.” Let your customers know what to expect, and let your team know what is expected of them. (If you don’t have a mission statement yet, we need to talk!)
Empowering Your People: To do customer service right, the whole team needs to be engaged. Educate and train your team. Empower them to use their judgment and creativity, within limits, to create experiences that your customers will rave about. Remember, no matter what the issue, the solution will always start with listening and empathy.
Giving Your Customers a Voice: People want to be heard; your customers will talk about their experience if it’s really good or if it’s really bad. Give them a chance to rant or rave to you privately--and immediately--before they feel the need to vent publicly. Customer satisfaction surveys are a great tool. You might learn about a chance to grow an account. You might have an opportunity to recognize a team member who went above and beyond. And you just might resolve an issue or allow a customer to let off some steam before that damaging public review.
Ensuring Excellence: Your team is trained and empowered, but one of the best ways to ensure ongoing excellence is to monitor the customer experience from initial contact through fulfillment. Periodically monitoring customer phone calls and communications can help identify needs for further training, opportunities for upselling, and occasions for recognizing exceptional talent within your team. On the fulfillment end, Secret Shoppers can provide specific and objective feedback according to your stated mission and standards.
Of course, I know what you’re thinking. That’s great, Amy, but customers can be unreasonable. And, to be honest, sometimes we screw up. There’s no way to avoid service issues and bad reviews altogether. And I say, you’re right. And that’s OK. Your response when things go wrong is what really sets you apart. It’s a crucial piece of the Customer Service puzzle, called Service Recovery. And that’s a topic for a future blog.
In the meantime, if you are ready to fine-tune your customer service strategies, The LMC Group is here to help. Check out our new service offerings.
Customer Service Surveys are linked to your company’s software program, which greatly increases customer response and quality feedback. We can provide weekly customer reporting and scoring, or we can customize a one-time survey.
Call Monitoring ensures that your employees are well trained and polite, helpful, and friendly on the phone. You’ll also learn if they have the necessary skills to maximize every sales opportunity. We will monitor 2-3 calls per week for each reservationist and dispatcher. Our specific, actionable feedback will enable you to develop a phone staff of the utmost professionalism.
Secret Shopper Programs are a great way to get a real sense of what your customers experience when they step into your vehicles. We customize a plan for you and send our secret shoppers out five times each month.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about our customer service support. We are committed to helping you build strong and ongoing customer relationships!
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