Excellent customer service is a priority of nearly every successful company. Businesses strive for satisfied, loyal customers, but many fall short when attempting to deliver on their promises.
There may be many obstacles that keep a business from achieving its goals, however if it fails to build an internal culture that cultivates customer service, failure is imminent. According to Study.com, customer service is: “The act of taking care of the customer’s needs by providing and delivering professional, helpful, high quality service and assistance before, during and after the customer’s requirements are met.”
While that definition implies that customer service is the direct responsibility of the individual who interacts most closely with the customer, the influences that drive positive customer service run much deeper.
Model Customer Service From the Top Down
Customer engagement is driven from the top level of management down to entry-level positions. For instance, leaders in a company model the behavior they desire their employees to have. If they degrade customers or belittle their concerns or requirements, other company employees are apt to, as well. Respect for clients and customers must be held to the highest standards by everyone in a company. Customer service can’t be an expectation of entry-level employees if leaders aren’t held to the same standards. Leading my example is the only way to establish a culture that naturally values customer service.
Create a Culture of Respect and Appreciation
When employees feel valued and appreciated, it is much easier for them to relay similar respect and appreciation to customers. Companies like Chick-fil-A and QuikTrip are excellent examples to prove this point. Both companies compensate employees with benefits, a pleasant working environment and a foundation based on ethics. They have created entire systems of happy, healthy people who thrive in the user-friendly workplaces they serve each day. These internal efforts result in customer service levels that exceed their competitors.
It’s not enough to just order your front-line employees to deliver stellar customer service; you have to demonstrate it to them in how you treat them, first.
Realize that Customer Service is the Differentiator
Today’s new economy is driven not by product differentiation, but by customer service. With the large selection of products available from so many sources (online and local), customers have limitless options for where they choose to shop. They are no longer restricted to one local outlet for their preferred purchases.
For instance, a family shopping for a new refrigerator can find one at most any big-box home improvement store, the local appliance store or various online outlets. In fact, they may even be able to find the exact identical model at the price-matched price in several locations. When this happens, product is no longer the draw for business. The value that sets a vendor apart is the customer service it offers.
Establishing a culture of customer service from the inside out is the key to business success. Respect your customers, go the extra mile to make them happy — and, they will do their part to make you happy, too.
In addition to this blog post, the Dellasega Group can offer many more recommendations about how your business or company can improve your levels of customer service or transition to a culture that will more effectively promote the values appreciated by customers. Contact us today for more information!