When it comes to great service, today’s customers don’t always know how to define it, but they definitely “know it when they see it.” Unfortunately, too many consumers have become accustomed to substandard service and are literally shocked when they have a positive experience. Nothing is more gratifying than hearing customers say “Wow, you really helped me when I needed it. Thank you.”
Most businesses strive for repeat sales, knowing the acquisition cost of that business is much lower than the cost of attaining new customers. Still, many don’t make the connection between quality of service and profitability.
This is such a simple concept when you take a step back and look at it, yet too many organizations concentrate on bringing new clients in the door and they fail to see who is leaving through the back door. There are three key ingredients needed to create an environment rich in service strategy, accountability and commitment.
Achieving an exceptional level of service is not something that happens by chance, even when you’ve hired the best employees. Service excellence must become a visible corporate strategy, with goals, action plans and the ability to measure results. In order to ensure high levels of profitability, metrics and strategies should be designed with service to your customers as the priority.
Every department must recognize how it directly or indirectly impacts customer satisfaction. Every manager must be accountable for communicating and achieving standards of service performance within the organization. Every employee must understand how the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of customers echoes throughout the entire organization.
Once the understanding and commitment of the entire organization are in place, results should be tracked and measured consistently against established metrics. As the organization and individuals exceed the standards agreed upon, rewards should be made available. Employees who feel confident in their job knowledge and appreciated for their contributions will mirror that attitude to their customers.
Genuine commitment to service excellence is long term. Results should be tracked constantly and adjustments made as needed. However, numbers do not necessarily paint the whole picture. Subjective feedback from customers, both positive and negative, needs to be part of the equation.
Paying attention to what our customer is saying can give valuable insight into your market and the mood of your client base if you are willing to listen. The phrase “perception is everything” really says it all when it comes to the importance of customer input.
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