Customer Service – Don’t Forget the Basics

With the holiday season just around the corner, businesses around the world are focused on preparations for what will likely be their busiest time of year. As we turn the corner to ‘holiday 2013’, it’s important to remember the basics, especially when it comes to delivering superior customer service.

Hire the right people.

It’s so obvious, yet as companies get bigger and bigger or expand their staffs with seasonal help, it’s often overlooked. For the vast majority of customers, your service professionals, whether customer support or sales team, serve as the face of your organization. After all, they’re the ones that have the most interaction with your customers. When seeking out service-oriented professionals, it’s critical to ask the right questions. You want – and need – to find team members that genuinely care about others and want to provide help and support. Passion counts, especially when it comes to service.

Value your customers.

It’s well documented that the cost of acquiring a new customer is six to seven times that of keeping an existing one, yet so much focus is on acquisition rather than retention. And, in most companies, the customer service organization is viewed as a cost-center. But, it’s critical that each customer be viewed and valued as an asset of your company. After all, most of the time you don’t know how customers are connected or if they are. Your smallest customer could be connected to your largest one, so it’s critical to treat everyone with the same level of respect and value.

Focus on personal touch.

Remember that the customer’s first experience with you is one that will leave a lasting impression. After all isn’t that why some retailers have now made ‘greeters’ an integral part of their in-store experience? And it extends beyond the physical store, whether a customer is reaching out via a website, email, or phone, there are definitive steps you can – and should – deploy to make that initial experience as positive as possible. Then, extend those actions into each and every touch point with a customer. It’s true; after all, that the best customer service representatives smile even if they’re on the phone as it comes through in the conversation and overall customer experience.

Sure, it’s great to invest in new technologies and incremental training, but for many businesses it’s just as important to remember the basics and ensure that your team members, whether behind the scenes or on the front line, are well-versed and committed to those guiding principals if you want to keep customers coming back!