Customer service should never be underestimated in importance when running a business. Unfortunately, even with customer service as a base goal, employees don’t always implement it. Train employees on excellent customer service, even if it means showing them examples from others.
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Hiring and Training the Right Employees
While you don’t want to discriminate, be sure to hire employees who are effusive, have a pleasant smile and enjoy working with people. Ask them in interviews what their customer service experience has been and have them give details on how they dealt with those customers. When you’re sure you have someone who could attract customers and make customers come back, train your employee to handle complaints from customers. Watch the employee for a couple of days to see how they handle customer complaints. If the employee folds emotionally under criticism from a customer, it may be best to hire someone else.
Provide a training program to an employee on how to make a customer feel welcome upon entering your business. This might include going out of the way to greet the customer the minute he enters the store, asking him if he needs any help or showing him where certain things are that might be on sale. However, these are actions that can be easily taught. Grant the employee leeway in figuring out how to handle unexpected situations, such as accidents. For instance, if a product a customer buys is broken, provide another product or something better, free of charge. Another example could be offering coffee to customers visiting the store in frigid weather. In other cases, the employee could make a special trip to another franchise store to get something the customer wants or make a phone call to order the same product.
Let the employee make decisions on his own regarding these unexpected customer service examples, and don’t reprimand him for performing them if his actions are within reason.
You may have addressed how to handle customers in the store itself, but you also want to sustain customer satisfaction after the customers are there. Ask for the names of your valuable customers and their e-mails or street addresses, and store them in a database. Send them newsletters regularly offering special discounts on products ahead of time. Also ask for feedback about what you’re doing right and wrong. Analyse all the feedback and take it seriously. Make changes in the areas that receive the most criticism from your most-valued customers.
Finding the Right Customers
A little-considered aspect to customer service is in what kind of customers best suit your business and whether those customers are worth an extra customer service investment. You may discover that some customers are impossible to please, no matter what you do. Others will appreciate the extra business services you provide. Keep track of those customers and focus on them as the people you’ll provide superior customer service to. These customers form the loyal customer base that will keep coming back to your business because they know you’ll go out of your way to help them.
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