5 Ways to Instantly Improve Customer Service

Customer service is the easiest way to get an edge on the competition. Studies have found that every disappointed customer tells an average of 10 people about their experience and that people are more likely to leave a business because of service rather than product. Training your employees on customer service skills will help you hold on to your customers and offer a superior experience over your competitors.

Be Consistent.

Every business should set up specific standards of service that are adhered to during every single customer interaction. If you offer a free bottle of water to customers that are in your waiting room, make sure you offer that bottle of water every single time. If you email a confirmation with a tracking number after an order is placed, make sure you send that confirmation with a tracking number every single time you get an order. If a customer is coming back to you they have already formed an expectation of the service they will receive from you and customers hate inconsistency. Think back to your own personal experiences. How many times have you been wowed by an experience and then underwhelmed by your next visit. All of the good will that was created the first time has disappeared and has been completely wasted.

Smile on the phone.

It sounds simple, but poor service on the phone is an epidemic. The phone deadens your voice and a smile will put more energy into it. Make sure you put a "smile" sign by every phone in your office or store. You can literally hear a smile on the phone and it's really difficult to be negative with a smile on your face.

Focus on Positive Statements

Smile, look your customer in the eye and lean slightly forward as they talk and then when it's your turn - make sure that you are positive! There is a positive way to say everything. Instead of "We can't seat you for 30 minutes" how about "We can get you seated in 30 minutes. Can I get you a drink while you wait?" If you were a customer which statement would get you to wait to be seated and which statement would cause you to walk out the door and try a different restaurant. This "positive-speak" can be applied to virtually everything you say in a customer interaction. Try it.

Create a checkout policy that is customer friendly.

If you have a "brick and mortar" store create a system where there is one line that funnels to all of your open registers. There is nothing more frustrating to a customer than to pick the "wrong" line and watch as person after person who arrived later gets checked out through a faster register. If one-line is practical in your store - then make it happen! If this type of checkout system is impractical in your store, make sure that you have policy that opens a new register when a line gets too long and that the first person in line is checked out in the new register. If your business is online make sure your checkout process is quick and efficient. The customer shouldn't have move through more than 3 pages to finish their transaction. If the checkout process is longer than this - they will leave!

Set a Policy Where Customer Service is the First Priority

Have you ever waited in a huge line at a bank? If you're like me you noticed that there were only two tellers but there were 15 other bank employees doing other things and ignoring the line. The customer in your establishment is the priority - period, end of sentence! Your employees need to stop what they are doing and help the customer. If they are stocking shelves and they see a customer trying to find something, they need to stop and help the customer! There is not one single thing that any employee is doing that is more important than the customer.

The customer pays the bills and is the reason you are in business in the first place. Set policies that are customer-friendly and you will soon have a leg-up on your competition. Put the customer above everything else and you will keep them coming back and telling others to come in your door.

Charlie Bentson King is a writer and producer of training videos for TrainingABC. TrainingABC is a distributor of customer service videos such as Give em the Pickle.

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