The Service Experts!
For business, by real people.
by Nicholas McEwen on August 05
With the recent drastic changes in both the hospitality and retail sectors, a concentration into the way businesses go about customer interactions is becoming more and more imperative. Not only does this directly reflect on the way the business is perceived by patrons but also impacts heavily on sales. The biggest question any business has to ask themselves is what makes them different to other similar businesses? The simplest distinction you can have is your customer service.
In the following entry, I will go over some simple and easy to learn tricks which will ultimately improve the way your business goes about customer service and the way customers perceive your staff and your business.
Sounds pretty simple right? You’d be surprised however, how many customer service people don’t follow this simple step when providing a service. Simply put, there is nothing worse than when a staff member’s eyes are darting around at other customers, staff or in the distance thinking about other places they’d rather be. Couple a consistent and friendly eye contact with a smile, and that customer will return it in full and feel special in the service being provided.
Customers love being the centre of attention. If you maintain friendly eye contact all throughout your service, it will lead to the customer feeling as if their time and purchase is of importance. Due to this, they will value any queries in regards to their purchase, decrease any chance of miscommunication, and a step towards breaking down a customer and service person divide. The customer will ensure that they work with the service person to provide the greatest service.
The first interaction a customer has with a staff member is like the first sip of a coffee. If the first sip is fantastic it is a great coffee, but if it’s bad then there is no point drinking it. When a staff member is greeting a customer for the first time, a welcoming body language is imperative for the patron to feel happy throughout the service provided. Not only does this shape the way the customer views the staff member, but also the way they view the business as a whole.
Whoever is serving should have a calm and relaxed stance with their body facing directly at the customer. If your body is facing away from the patron which you are serving, gives the impression that you are uninterested with the interaction and detracts from the customer’s feelings of importance. Regardless of how busy you maybe, if you spend the time to position your body towards the patron, in an open, calm and welcoming manner they will be happier with the service provided. This may be difficult at first, but if you have any questions for the patron, direct your body towards them. You’ll be surprised how much of an impact this has on their happiness with the service
Small Talk and Recollection:
If the customers attention is maintained throughout the provided service, it is guaranteed that their satisfaction with the service will increase dramatically. You don’t want the customer standing bored out of their brains when you are trying to provide a positive service experience. With this in mind, simply participate in small talk with questions directed at the customer. The key to this is not just filling moments of silence with random questions about the weather but to listen and value add to any conversation that might come up. Questions like “What do you do for work?” or “Are you up to much this weekend?” allows for the customer to talk about themselves and share any information that may prompt a connection between customer and service person.
The next step to prompting a conversation, is recollection of a previous conversation on a return visit. I guarantee you that if you can recall that customer had a soccer game last weekend and you ask them how they played or if they won, that customer will keep coming back again and again. Being able to pick up where you left off will get that customer coming back to not only receive the service or product that you provide but to get it solely from you and keep you updated on their life. After a few interactions of recollection, you’ve earned yourself a life customer.
The “Of course!” Mentality:
When providing customer service, I work with a very simple mentality. Whenever possible, if a customer asks if I am able to do something, my answer is “Of course!”. Your sole responsibility to the customer you are serving is to ensure they are happy with the provided service. If you can approach any situation with this mentality, the customer will have no other choice but to spend money on your business. The word “No” shouldn’t even be in your vocabulary when providing customer service.
Now, this mentality obviously comes with the caveat that it has to be a realistic request for you to provide such a service. As long as everyone at the business is consistent with the boundaries of this mentality, then you should be finding yourself and your staff saying “Of course” on a daily basis. With this mentality in mind, if there is no other option but to decline a request from a customer, there should always be an alternative option provided. Coming to a compromise with a customer will ensure that they aren’t left with the choice to go elsewhere.
These are just some tips and tricks which will ultimately increase customer satisfaction which will result in repeat business. By incorporating a mixture of these strategies to the day to day service that yourself and your staff provide will show dramatic results sooner than you think.