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Managing Customer Service

Friday, August 2, 2013 - 08:05

By Leon Gettler

Customer service is a critical element of business success. Every contact your customers have with your business is an opportunity for you to improve your reputation with them. Done well, it increases the likelihood of further sales. From people’s telephone manner to the efficiency of order-fulfilment systems, almost every aspect of your business affects the way your customers view your business. There are specific measures managers can put in place to increase their levels of customer care.

Shawn Graham at Fast Company says that in an age of instant gratification where people are expecting results immediately, managers need to find the right staff, the right strategy, and the right technologies to monitor and respond to customers in a matter of minutes if not sooner. “Expectations have changed and the bar is only getting higher. Customers have a preference as to how they would like to interact with your company and it’s up to you to make sure you have the right systems in place to accommodate them. Social media, phone support, web forums, direct messages, and web chats might appear as separate channels, but customers are starting to see them as one.”
In other words, everything now has to be part of the same system built around customer service.

Business Tasmania says staff have to be not only trained to deal with customers but also know all about the product features and the benefits offered by the goods and services they are selling. They have to be experts. Also, managers need to make the work as satisfying as possible so that staff are committed and happy working in the business. This contentment will be reflected in their dealings with customers. They also have to make the premises pleasant, welcoming, clean and tidy, maintain equipment in a good state of repair, so that work can be completed on time and establish a clear policy for dealing with complaints from customers. They have to provide prompt service, be reliable, responsive, accessible, available and willing to help customers whenever they have a problem. Service standards need to measured regularly and improvements made necessary. Managers have to ensure the company invests in a first class image.

Business Victoria says managers need to get to know their clients and pamper them, everyone likes to feel special. Remember the little things – the smallest details – can be the difference between a good or a great customer experience. Managers also need to make it their business to find out what customers really want. And they have to look after staff. Happy employees will take better care of customers.

The people at entrepreneur.com say managers have to ensure that customer service goes above and beyond the call of duty. If, for example, an order is delayed, they should call the customer personally and give them updates on the status of the order and expected arrival time. They might also have to hand deliver the merchandise when it arrives, give them a discount and later on send a letter apologising for the delay. The key in all of this is ensuring the customer knows that the company is on their side.