1. Keep your customers fully briefed. When will you have an answer to their enquiry or finish repairing their machine?
2. Keep a diary to remind you of your clients’ attitudes, interests, hobbies, and personal details the clients have told you. Note the names of their team members – and use them.
3. When clients call, go into listening mode. Ask questions. Complaint? Follow-up with more questions and show that it matters. Acknowledge the customers’ worries, frustration, or disappointment.
4. Ensure that your tone on the phone and in person reflects the customers’ royal status. Will your customers know that you are taking their problem seriously?
5. Carry out random acts of kindness. Make sure they are appropriate to the client.
6. Make follow-up calls. ‘How’s business? How is our communication with you? How is our machine performing? Any problems we can help with?
7. Look for opportunities to add lagniappe – something extra they would value and are not expecting.
8. 'Promise bronze. Aim to deliver gold.’ Repairs will probably take a week? Say you’ll have them finished within 10 days. Aim for a week.
9. Encourage your clients to suggest and complain - early. Ask: how can we give you better service?
10. Discover what your clients dislike about using firms like yours and keep showing that it doesn't apply to you or your organisation.
11. Bring something for morning tea.
12. Find out what other suppliers are doing in your market. Brainstorm ways of taking their service to the next level.
Encourage your team to come up with their own ideas to extend the list. Then, make sure they see the results - asap. Do that and even the office grump will come around. Office grumps are the first to resist talk about customer service and will assume that it will come to nothing. Prove them wrong.
The more control you give to your team as they turn talk into action the better. You want them to own the customer service improvement programme so they can look back and say 'we did that'. Ownership keeps the momentum going and shows up in subtle ways like tone of voice and initiative.
Customer service is an opportunity for everyone to shine and a valuable attrribute for anyone intertested in developing their career. Help them shine. Encourage them to think of their achievements as examples they can add to their C.V. and discuss in their next promotion or job interview.
Encourage them to imagine what it's like being a customer of theirs. Lead them to examine their service in specific ways.
For example, 'Imagine visiting our office for the first time'...
Ask your team to consider...
'You cannot reason people out of an opinion they have not reasoned themselves into.'
That's a modern way of saying what Jonathon Swift observed in 1721.
Wouldn't persuasion be so much easier if we humans were entirely logical? The research makes it clear that we're not. We just think we are.
We treat our own opinions as more logical and well-informed than other people's opinions. We may not go as far as talking about alternative facts and rejecting other people's information or opinions as fake news, but it's only human to struggle with objectivity.
How much of a struggle?
Psychologists have studied more than 90 ways we humans compromise our objectivity. Let's look at a selection.