Customer service: Do your employees walk the talk?

Good customer service leads to repeat sales and referrals, which lead to higher revenues and profits. The result is a stronger, more secure business.

Your sales staff knows this well. Their results are directly affected by customer perceptions. Other em­ployees, such as those in support and back office functions, may not think of themselves as serving the customer. But every employee has an impact, direct or indirect, on customer experience. An incorrect shipment, a late delivery, or a mistake on an invoice, all result in poor service. Make it a goal of your business to meet, and preferably exceed, customer expectations as often as possible.

How do you teach every employee that customer service is part of the job? The answer is a combination of communication, training, and good management.

  • Communicate. Make all em­ployees aware of the importance of customer service to the business as a whole. Explain the role they play in providing good service. Consider posting measures of sales for all to see. If appropriate, develop measures of accuracy or error-free performance and track and share the results.
  • Educate. Provide training to every employee with customer contact. Em­phasize the ways cooperation and teamwork can contribute to good service. Instill a service-minded culture so customer service becomes everyone’s job.
  • Good management. As the owner or manager, your actions and your priorities set the tone for the company. Employees follow your lead and pay attention to what you con­sider important. Look for ways to measure customer satisfaction and show your employees that you’re moni­toring it. And remember the other way to improve customer service – minimizing the things that go wrong. Make sure you’re aware of errors and complaints. Set goals for improved performance and hold people to them.

Finally, involve your employees. Make it clear that better service is a shared goal and ask for suggestions. You might be surprised how quickly good customer service becomes more than mere talk.

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