People often think about customer service as it relates to how companies treat their external customers. But think about this — the people you do business with at all levels are customers.
The suppliers to your firm, the people you interact with in different departments, these are also customers. Everyone who wants something from you is a customer. The person who supplies something to you may become a customer.
Everyone you interact with is essentially a customer. And the customers you want to impress are all of those people. Why? Because each of these people may have influence over your success.
A customer may love your style of communication or level of service and tell others about you. She might say: “Oh you should see Susan, she’s so helpful and I never have to wait long for an answer to my queries.”
If you have people talking positively about your level of (customer) service, then you are likely to be busy with people who appreciate your efforts. And when it gets back to management that you are so busy because you are so popular with the customers, this can positively affect your future employment opportunities.
If a customer finds your style of service to be brusque, unwilling, unhelpful or uncaring, then the customer is going to do one of two things — either he will say nothing about you at all, or he will tell his friends that you are best avoided.
When management starts to hear that you are unhelpful, uncaring or brusque with customers, including people you work with, this can deter you from progressing in your company.
Customer service is not only about how those who pay you for goods or services feel about your company, it can also be about how departments interact with each other and how individuals relate to each other.
It is a very simple thing and it is a rule that goes back for all of humanity. Helpful, pleasant people are more often rewarded than those who hold back on putting their best foot forward.
This is not just about being nicer to your colleagues. It’s about considering how you perform and relate to those you do business with at both macro and micro levels.
So how can you do more to improve your personal attitude towards customer service? What might you gain from improving your own levels of customer service in your company?
Values into customer service
If the company values include anything to do with service excellence, respect, helpfulness or other associated terms, then one way to ensure that values are aligned and customer service is delivered at a high level throughout the entire company is to employ people whose personal values are also aligned with these.
An example of this can be demonstrated around the value of helpfulness. If the company is focused on being helpful to its customers, and the people who are part of the company are also value-oriented — that is, their personal values also reflect such terms as helpfulness — then it can easily become a part of a company’s culture.
When your values are identified and understood, then incorporating these into the customer service policy for your company is mandatory to ensure that all new people are given the opportunity to embrace them.
Your recruitment process should therefore include, at the very least, a discussion about your company values and your prospective employees’ personal values in relation to these.
Before, during and after
Customer service is a constant. Your touch points with customers represent opportunities to impress at all times. That includes how you treat people on the phone, how quickly you reply to queries, and how effective you are at putting someone at ease about their inquiry.
After you have engaged with a customer, consider how you can follow up with him to further boost his confidence in you and his appreciation of you.
This is often the point where people decide to rave about you and tell people that their experience was exceptional. And any time that you decide to go further and really impress someone is when you are taking charge of your potential in your company.
Article by Maria Carlton, an international speaker with Training Edge International. She is a business transformation specialist trainer who helps companies to improve their business performance through communication strategies. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.trainingedgeasia.com