However trite, the customer is the most important person in your business! Why? It’s simple: If there were no customers, there would be no business.
As with any service establishment, it is very important to portray a favorable first impression with your customers. It is important for the survival of your organization to have as many favorable first impressions as possible. Did you know that, on the average, it takes approximately six favorable impressions to overcome one unfavorable impression?
If you’re looking for ways to improve your organization’s reputation for service, I would like to provide you with some proven customer service guidelines that I have found particularly beneficial. They are as follows:
1. TREAT THE CUSTOMER THE SAME WAY YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE TREATED! Provide the customer with the same level of service you would expect if the roles were reversed.
2. ANTICIPATE AND ACCOMMODATE YOUR CUSTOMERS’ NEEDS! A nation-wide study asked people what they wanted most as a customer. Approximately 70% indicated that they wanted their needs and desires met prior to having to ask.
3. MAKE THE CUSTOMER FEEL AT HOME! Make your customers feel at home by being courteous and allowing them to feel comfortable and appreciated for doing business with you.
4. ALLOW THE CUSTOMER TO GET THE BEST VALUE FOR THEIR MONEY! Customers look for two things: The quality of the product and the quality of the service.
5. ACT TO SOLVE ANY AND ALL COMPLAINTS AND PROBLEMS TO THE CUSTOMER’S SATISFACTION! It is not the fact that the customer has experienced a complaint, but the way the complaint was handled that will determine if they will return or not. Handle each complaint in a courteous and professional manner and to their satisfaction.
6. ALWAYS BE WILLING TO DO A LITTLE EXTRA! Go that extra mile to satisfy a customer by always providing excellent service at all times.
7. ALWAYS SMILE, BE FRIENDLY AND COURTEOUS, AND MAKE EYE CONTACT WHEN SPEAKING TO THE CUSTOMER! This shows the customer that you care about their needs and are glad that they are doing business with you. By providing these services to the customers, they will be more likely to do business with you again.
8. NEVER ARGUE WITH THE CUSTOMER! Remember: The customer may not always be right, but the customer will always be the customer. There may be times when the customer is wrong about a certain situation. It is important that you never tell them that they are wrong, but to apologize for their inconvenience and assure them that you will do everything in your power to accommodate them. Again, it’s the approach that is important more than the actual incident itself.
9. LISTEN AND HANDLE ALL CUSTOMER PROBLEMS IN A PROFESSIONAL MANNER! Listen with not only your ears but also with your eyes. Make good eye contact so that they are assured that you are listening and care to solve their problems.
10. IF YOU CANNOT ASSIT A CUSTOMER, DIRECT THEM TO SOMEONE WHO CAN! Never leave a customer unattended. If you don’t know where something is, find out!
Let me share what I believe is the perfect description for organizational success. If the customer decides to do business with your company; and if you provide the customer with excellent services and/or products; and you are able to “exceed” their expectations; and as a result, the customer returns to do business with you again in the future; then your organization is successful. In the end, an organization will succeed as a result of “return business,” It’s return business that will make or break your establishment, not the first timers.
Handling customer complaints is another issue to be tackled. As mentioned earlier, it’s not the fact that the customer may have experienced a complaint, but how it was handled that will determine if the customer will return again.
In summary, excellent customer relations in business and industry today is vital. All other establishments offer nice products. It’s the service that will make the difference.
Dr. Al Infande is the Director of Human Resources at AeroThrust Corporation, a jet engine overhaul and maintenance facility in Miami, Florida. For over 15 years, he has served as a university professor where he teaches courses in Human Resources Management, Education, and Psychology. Dr. Infande has earned several Ph.D.s in the areas of Organizational Psychology, Counseling Psychology, and Human Resources Development. He has developed and delivered an array of seminars and workshops for both academicians and corporate executives. During his career, he has written several publications in the areas of Adult Education, Training and Development, and Stress Management.