When you first start a business, you may have many great ideas about what your business will do, how it will operate, and the value it will bring to the customer. However, rarely do all of those ideas come to fruition. It’s not a result of your lack of commitment; it’s just impossible to incorporate every idea and goal. You are forced to make split decisions, adapt to changes, and consider new opportunities, so the plan you once had must be altered to fit reality.
Sadly, one of the areas most affected by these changes and variances is customer service. Have you failed to make customer service a priority in your business? If so, there are a number of steps you can take to reverse the trend and start treating customers the way you envisioned them to be treated.
What’s the Secret?
According to Steve Boak, managing partner of Invisor Consulting and an Entrepreneur.com contributor, “In almost every situation, the difference between bad and outstanding customer service comes down to the same two things.” As he goes on to write, those two things are having respect for the customer and being able to answer the question, “What is the most effective way to get this customer what he or she wants?”
While people have varying opinions on how to confront the topic of customer service, Boak does a fantastic job of summarizing the majority of views in a concise two-part answer. If you want to dissect it even further, take a look at the following tips and tricks, and ask yourself how they can be used to enhance Boak’s view of customer service.
CARP. You may have heard the CARP acronym used before, and it’s a good rule of thumb. It stands for controlling the situation, acknowledging the problem, refocusing the conversation, and problem-solving with the customer. By navigating through these four stages – while respecting the customer – you can settle most issues and problems.
Consistency. One of the most frustrating events, from a customer’s point of view, is being constantly transferred from one customer service rep to the next. It makes the customer feel as if they aren’t being heard, it forces them to re-explain their situation, and it’s quite frustrating. While it is sometimes necessary to transfer a customer to another employee, do your best to encourage consistency in customer service situations.
Ignore the myths. According to Asad Salman of Mailflo.io, there are a number of myths about customer service you simply must ignore. First among these myths is the idea that “no complaints means no problems.” There is always room for improvement, and it’s when you begin to believe everything is fine that customer service becomes neglected.
The True Value of Customer Service
The problem for many entrepreneurs and businesses is that they don’t think they can afford customer service. Renowned CEO Richard Branson sees this as a fundamental flaw: “Rather than viewing customer service as a cost centre, it is more helpful to see it as a means of keeping your customers coming back for more, and also of bringing in new business.” In this sense, high quality customer service can help you finish what you originally set out to do – be successful.
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