To have a quality staff that respects themselves, their management and their customers, it is imperative to have a good internal customer service program in place.
Creating Effective First Impressions: It only takes seven seconds to form a good first impression. Our posture, appearance, attitude and communication skills can create a professional, welcoming environment that encourages business…or it can repel people, even if our prices are right.
Meet and Greet: The Most Common Mistakes
The critical first step in the customer service process is the meet and greet, the vital first moments with the customer that set the tone for the entire interaction. Energetically and professionally, welcome your customer for the most successful interactions possible. Customers want to be recognized, appreciated, and treated with courtesy and understanding. For this to happen, you have to be at your best in the initial stage of the service process. At all costs, avoid these relationship-damaging mistakes:
Ignoring waiting customers: If you are too busy with a current customer to help a waiting customer immediately, establish eye contact, give a wave, or say a word or two to let the customer know that you are aware of them and will get to them as soon as possible.
Getting distracted: It is easy to become distracted by a variety of activities involved in customer service; however, avoid letting customers sense that they are not your first priority.
Answering questions or taking calls while assisting a customer: It is a challenge to make every customer feel equally valued, and some customers try to push their way to the head of the line. Don’t let them overstep earlier customers but rather say a few friendly words to indicate that you will be with them as soon as you are finished serving the current customer.
A bored, trite greeting: A creative, energetic greeting other than, “May I help you?” can make the meet and greet portion even more interesting and rewarding. “How can I help you with your computer selection today?” Each customer is different but most customers are looking for the same things in their interactions with you.
To be treated with courtesy: Even rude people dislike being treated rudely. Common courtesies go a long way towards expressing respect to your customers. Good manners, like saying “please” and “thank you,” listening attentively, and expressing understanding, are courtesies that nearly everyone appreciates.
To be heard–Do You Hear Me?: Even though customers’ circumstances may seem identical to those of others, each one typically still wants to talk through their issues, and your role is to listen.
To get what they want quickly: You are just one stop on the client/customer’s list of things to do. While there are exceptions, assume that the faster you address the customer’s issues, the happier they will be.
To be satisfied with their transaction: Everyone wants a hassle-free, satisfactory end result with a customer service professional. Your primary goal is to leave them feeling positive and eager to return.
To deal with a decision maker — Do They Know Their “Stuff”?: Life is easier if one person can provide answers and make decisions about the resolution of the problem. Customers don’t want to have to repeat their requests over and over as they are referred to other people for decisions, depleting our time, energy and effort.
To be appreciated: Customers have a wide range of options which means we never take for granted their willingness to do business with our organization. It takes little time to express appreciation for their business, and it sends a positive, reinforcing message to the customer.
To deal with someone who is knowledgeable — Is your staff equipped? Customers come to you for your expertise, advice, and experience, as well as for the products and services that you provide. They expect you to be able to answer their questions or know where to find answers. Ensure everyone who deals with customers has all of the tools and knowledge to do so.