Whether you own a bricks and mortar store or an online operation, studies show the first 15 seconds of customer contact is critical. In this brief span, a customer can decide to continue doing business with your company, return for future business or most importantly, recommend or criticize a service.
To deliver the optimum first impression â?? and long term impact - your Customer Service Action Plan must incorporate both employee participation and corporate culture. The final goal may be customer satisfaction, but this begins within the company.
A positive corporate culture starts with a common language to describe jobs, duties, customers and employees. Across the board, this should reflect shared organizational values. Here are some guidelines:
- Pay attention to day-to-day details, such as a pleasant work environment and employee recognition. Little things make a big difference.
- Demonstrate strong leadership, and develop this quality in your employees.
- Create a service-driven culture throughout the organization.
- Demonstrate community support through sponsorship and volunteerism.
- Utilize innovative technology to support customer service.
- Benchmark company-service standards against the best practices of service leaders and competitors.
Staff training begins with the hiring process and continues throughout an employee’s tenure. To develop employees who truly care about customer service:
- Empower employees to serve customers.
- Teach staff members to truly listen to customers.
- Reward and recognize employees for outstanding service.
- Provide training which supports and achieves organizational strategic objectives.
- Ensure training objectives will achieve desired performance.
- Continuously evaluate employee progress, make adjustments and strive for excellence.
Business owners should understand that no one magic bullet delivers exceptional customer service. Industry leaders persistently work hard to create good, memorable experiences that convert ordinary customers into lifetime patrons.