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Teaching Good Customer Service

Follow these tips to ensure that all your employees understand the value of good customer service.

Is customer service important? Is customer service every employee's responsibility?

The clear answer to both of these questions is a resounding yes! And more important, the major responsibility for creating a customer friendly atmosphere begins with you, the boss. Not only are you responsible for teaching first-rate customer service skills, but as their leader, you must demonstrate these behaviors and be a role model for your employees. Without positive examples from you, they're not likely to improve.

But just why is customer service so crucially important to the success of your company?

Whether or not your employees work specifically as customer service people, as the head of your organization, you must instill in all your employees one key strategic thought and direction: If you're going to create a positive and productive business environment, everyone must speak and relate to customers and potential customers as if each person were their paycheck. Because, in fact, they are.

Tell your employees to seriously consider this startling truth: If customers don't keep coming back and purchasing your company's products or services, there will be no company. And obviously, if there's no company--or if you're forced to downsize--many of the people working for you now may lose their jobs.

I bet you'll have your employee's complete attention.

So just what is optimal customer service? Simply stated, it's a positive way of relating to people that lets them know you care about them, their actions, their purchases and the buying process, no matter how expensive, intricate or involved it is. Your main goal is to have each customer leave with a smile on their face and a feeling of having been well taken care of by you and your employees--and for having purchased just what they needed or wanted.

But why is optimal customer service so crucial? Won't customers keep coming back if your price is right? Not necessarily. If you want your customers to come back again and again, you've got to satisfy them by making it easy for them to do business with you, which will get them to return for more. Understand that if they aren't treated properly, they won't become those coveted return customers.

Here are four powerful points you need to model and impart to your employees in order for them to provide top-notch service to the purchasing public.

Optimal customer service means:

  1. Your employees can keep their job. Remember, no customers equals no business and no employees.
  2. You've created a positive buying atmosphere for both first-time and repeat customers.
  3. You're able to satisfy the information or buying needs of your potential customers.
  4. You're able to transform prospects into happy, satisfied customers. And happy, satisfied customers come back for more.

Your next step is to teach and motivate your employees to demonstrate the following successful customer service behaviors:

  • Stop talking with colleagues and get off the phone whenever a potential customer approaches.
  • Look up and at the person, smile and welcome your potential paycheck.
  • Ask how you can help or assist your potential customer.
  • Provide information in a pleasant manner, always remembering to smile.
  • Ask, in a friendly way, if you've been of assistance to the customer. If the answer is no, continue to serve your customer until you've satisfied their needs.
  • Ask if there's anything else you can do to help them make the right decision.
  • Smile and say goodbye, encouraging the customer to return with other questions.
  • Mean what you say and mean what you do.

And don't forget that the most important features of an interaction that potential buyers will remember are how helpful the employee was and how delighted or satisfied the customers are with the product and the process of purchasing.

Undoubtedly, these satisfied customers will return over and over. And this result is due to the attitude, politeness and willingness to assist that your employees express.

Bingo, they just earned their paychecks!

Dr. David G. Javitch is an organizational psychologist, leadership specialist, and President of Javitch Associates in Newton, Mass. Author of How to Achieve Power in Your Life, Javitch is in demand as a consultant for his skills in assessment, coaching, training and facilitating groups and retreats.

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