Considering how your customers think Reconsidering your approach to customer service

In a highly competitive business environment, quality service is the key to standing out. Differentiation is no easy task though: as more and more companies strive to achieve a reputation for great service, the bar gets higher – and successful vendors do not rest on singular achievements for too long before they ask themselves, “How do we sustain achievement by making exceptional service the norm?”

Standing out among the competition does not always involve modifying product/service offerings. Sometimes it pays to change how you sell instead of what you sell, which might mean honestly examining the kind of experience your service process guarantees for your customer.

Great customer service comes from having a process that puts people first: a clearly defined way of doing things that representatives can personalize on the front lines of service. Processes are only meaningful to people when applied to their specific needs and goals. Some companies make the mistake of “over-processing” and “under-personalizing;” they make a sale, acquire a customer, and gradually start to pull back their attention as they put the customer rapport on a kind of auto-pilot.

Acquiring a customer means acquiring a relationship. Why go after new business if you can’t back up your promotional messages with a lasting commitment to great service?

Of course customer relationships vary, but there are common things that every customer appreciates, and general principles that should play out in every customer relationship.

Don’t trudge customers through small talk and scripted questions

Ask customers real questions that show interest, intention and intellect

Don’t assume with customers that one size fits all

Get to know your customers so that the information you relay to them is relevant

Don’t talk to customers like you know what’s best for them

Discover a customer’s authentic needs; present yourself in terms of those needs

Don’t pretend to have answers when you don’t (customers can spot a fake!)

Understand the question; then find the right answer, right away

Don’t introduce yourself with promises and promotional messages you can’t back up

Keep your promises and follow through with your incentives

Show creativity at the entrance and commitment through the journey

Put clients on the calendar so that you remember to check in and follow up

Develop a customer service process that goes beyond acquisition

Be attentive to immediate needs and stay ahead of potential needs

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes, imagine the ideal customer service experience, and consciously deliver that experience everyday.

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