Ten Methods to Improving Customer Service
The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship
Customer service, without question, is the most important consideration in running a business After all, without customers, there would not be a business. Customers should have the highest attention of the business owner. The driving part of the organization should not be employees, supplies or anything else, but rather customer service. The following are 10 methods to greatly improve customer service.
1.Establish an incentive for all employees dealing with customer service. If someone has contact with customers, then they must get paid on the basis of their customer service. We have found that customer service really improves after this type of incentive system is incorporated into the business. The goal of an incentive system is to achieve congruence of the incentive with that of the business.
2. Conduct a survey of customers at least once a year. Find out how satisfied your customers are of your service. This is also a great way to remind your customers of your commitment to customer service as well.
3. Include the importance of providing outstanding customer service in your company mission statement. Some of the best-run firms have customer service reminders and pictures on the walls of the workplace.
4. Start every staff meeting with the question, “how can we improve our customer service?” Spend a reasonable amount of time in every staff meeting figuring out how to improve customer service.
5. Address customer service in the training program for every new employee. Make sure the employee understands the importance of customer service in their job. Customer service training should not only be mandatory for new employees, but a refresher course for all existing employees should be conducted on an annual basis.
6. Include a component geared toward customer service as part of each employee’s annual evaluation. Good annual minimum numbers to start with are 20%-30%. That is, 20% to 30% of the annual evaluation should be geared toward customer service.
7. Be a leader around your employees, and set an example of excellent customer service. Words are great but action is a stronger message. A great learning tool to deal with customer service is for the entrepreneur to have the opportunity to deal with a very difficult customer service situation in front of employees. The entrepreneur can actually demonstrate excellent customer service.
8. Mistakes are going to happen in business. The important consideration is how you treat your customers in this type situation. A good way to deal with this is to admit you or your firm made a mistake, and then ask the customer what you can do to make up for the mistake. Most people are satisfied to just hear a firm admit that they made a mistake and will not ask for anything.
9. Appoint a person to be in charge of improving customer service. This will insure that someone is taking responsibility for customer service. Without someone in charge of this aspect of your business, customer service will slip.
10. Visit other places of similar businesses and see how they treat their customers. Figure out what they do well and replicate that in your business. It is acceptable to go your competitors’ businesses and see how they operate. This is not considered spying, nor is it unethical, but rather a quest for improving the delivery of your products.
If you follow the aforementioned suggestions, your customer service and profits are certain to increase.
This article appears courtesy of the The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship.