I recently walked into a florist. Two staff were busy behind the counter making floral arrangements. As I approached, both turned to serve me. In fact, in their eagerness, they almost had a tussle over who would serve me first.
This willingness to serve was very pleasing.
We can all tell stories of waiting at a counter whilst staff continue their private conversations, seemingly ignoring our presence and importance.
I chose the flowers I wanted. They were quickly and nicely wrapped. I walked out the door a happy customer.
Two doors down is another service business. A few months ago, I had a conversation with the owner, as they had an interesting sign in the window. It was hand written. It pleaded with customers to stop abusing the staff, as they could not take it any more.
Apparently, as new owners in an unfamiliar industry, a number of problems had arisen, including the resignation of key staff.
Consequently, service levels had suffered. Some services were not being provided, often on a regular basis. The same customers had to keep complaining. Many were obviously becoming frustrated and upset.
Providing good service seems easy
The florist shop staff made it look easy. They paid attention when customers walked in the door. They knew what they were doing. They did it well.
You need to know what good service is. You need to know what customers want. You need to tailor your business to suit. Courteous, attentive, well trained staff make a big difference. Staff need to be respected, supported and appreciated. They should not fear an approaching customer.
Good systems, combined with well trained staff, ensure that errors are reduced or eliminated. If there are no errors, there are no complaints. Customers are satisfied. Work is more rewarding for staff members.
Summary and conclusion
Making customer service appear seamless is in fact quite hard. Often it is like the duck analogy - you can see the duck gliding smoothly across the lake, but you cannot see how hard it is paddling to get there.
Excellent customer service is achieved when staff members combine their good interpersonal skills with good product, policy and systems knowledge. It is also important that staff have good policies and systems to work with.
Are you or your staff afraid to work on the counter?
Do you and your staff provide instant attention to customers?
Are you and your staff eager to serve?
Do your policies and systems support your staff, or do they make it hard to meet customer needs?
Did you miss it?
Promotional products - a good idea if done properly - discusses the importance of good promotional products and how they can help or hinder the development of a positive company image.
To review the newsletter, see: Listing of recent newsletter articles. All articles relate to a performance theme, but individual newsletters cover a specific topic. Themes include customer service, leadership, management, website marketing and time management.
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Derek Stockley conducts public training courses in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, including a Public Train the Trainer Program.
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