As a professional in the communication business, I am very big on the importance of customer service. When businesses are engaging with the public, I believe it is imperative that they always put the interest of those they serve first. As customers or potential customers, a business is best served when those they serve are happy. I understand that we are in a fast- paced world and relationships are fleeting and often impersonal. But, I believe we need to take inventory into the importance of building purposeful relationships and when possible nurturing those relationships in the interest of building credit with those we serve. For this reason, I have developed a Customer Service Foundation Wheel which has six very important steps that I believe will help businesses to be successful in promoting their brand, boosting annual profits, increasing customer retention rates, creating new customers, and, most importantly, exceeding customer expectations regarding the service they receive from your business. [Click image below to enlarge]
I will present to you a sequential profile, in detail, of the six customer service steps, which are; 1st – Introduction, 2nd – Valuing Customers, 3rd – Flexibility, 4th – Quality of Giving, 5th – Speed, and 6th – Trust. The order of each step is important, because each builds on the strength and level of importance of the previous step.
The first part of the Introduction is the “external”. It is akin to a person looking for a place to live. When riding around or working with a realtor your first impression must pass the “eye test”. If you notice that the curb side appeal is unattractive you probably won’t stop or have your realtor take you into the residence to view the abode. Therefore, if you are considering giving your time to an organization, what it looks like matters, and will mean a great deal in your decision to extend services to that business. As a business it is imperative that you pay attention to what the surrounding environment looks like, the lack of grooming in and around your business, including signage can be key to the sensory perception of what the customer sees, which can set the tone to the entire customer experience because that the start in building a positive relationship with your customers. It is important for a business to view the attractiveness of the environment as an opportunity to say “welcome, we appreciate and look forward to your patronage”. The importance of the Introduction in trying to attract and have potential customers do business with you is the beginning of a profitable and long-lasting relationship. Not paying attention to the importance of the Introduction can, and often will, detract from the interest of potential customers and can get your business negative press from a disgruntle customer.
The second part of the Introduction is the “internal”, which, is having a welcoming and attentive staff. Your staff’s greeting, and conscientious manner can have either a positive or negative impact on your customer’s perception of you and your business. The greeting sets the tenor for the relationship and becomes an extension of the customer’s comfort level and mood. How conscientious the staff is a determining factor of what your customer perception and experience will be with your personnel and of your business. The greeting and level of focus includes, but not limited to the following: (1) Being personable, letting your customers know they matter. (2) Having a genuine and sincere smile, having good eye contact and body language, which allows you to connect on a professional intimate level with your customers. (3) Focusing solely on your customer without distractions, not allowing noise or other customers draw your attention away from your customer. (4) Also, taking a customer-centered approach by letting your customer know you are excited, and sincere about meeting and exceeding their needs and expectations. Even though it’s a cliché, there is truth to the saying, “you only have one chance to make a positive first impression”. How the staff greets and treats your customer makes an immeasurable difference on the relationship. A positive first impression is an important start to building a relationship that is trustworthy (the sixth step) and sustainable over time between you and your customers. The Introduction, as a 1st step, sets the tone for the entire customer experience.