What does customer service look like in your business? Do your employees care about your customers are they just “doing their job”?
It is critical for your business survival and growth that your employees truly care for your customers rather than treat them like just another generic transaction. A customer service mindset must be purposefully built and nurtured in your organization rather than being left to chance.
I recently traveled to Houston for some business meetings. When I arrived at the airport and got my rental car it was pouring rain. By the time I got onto the Southwest freeway at 5:30 PM it resembled a large parking lot and not a freeway! After fighting the traffic for about an hour, I pulled off the freeway at Lakewood and had dinner at the Café Express.
After dinner, I jumped into my rental and drove to the hotel (Sugar Land Marriott) without incident. When I arrived and popped the trunk to get my luggage, there was nothing there! Someone had broken into my car at the restaurant and stolen my luggage! Fortunately, I had my computer with me in Café Express so it never got stolen but everything else did.
The staff at the Sugar Land Marriott jumped into action. They did everything they could to assist me in getting ready for my meetings the next day. They offered advice on where to buy clothes and offered to bring up any toiletry items that I might need. By the time I got to my room, they had a tray of snacks and beverages waiting!
They had a customer service mindset!
So, how do you instill this customer service mindset into your culture and into your employees?
This is not a simple five minute exercise. Building a strong, customer service culture requires some deep thought, strategy and leadership to define exactly the culture you desire. Once you have this defined, the following seven principles will help you to instill the customer service culture in your organization.
- It starts with you. The organization’s leaders must model the behavior they want to see in their employees. It does no good to “talk the talk” if you don’t “walk the walk!” Show your employees how you want the customers treated by how you interact with the customers. Model the way!
- Make sure your organization’s definition of customer service is well defined and continuously communicated to all staff
- Make customer service one of your top values
- Create a rewards system for your employees so they can be recognized by their peers for exemplary customer service
- Implement Schulze’s 4 rules
- Constantly solicit feedback from your customers to judge where your organization is at. Make adjustments to your organization based on the feedback and always be in a continuous improvement mode
- Talk about the customer service culture in as many employee communications as possible. Make it a standard agenda item in meetings, celebrations and awards
The Marriott employees that served me did not have to get involved in solving my crisis or do anything for me except check me in. However, they took extra steps to help get me prepared for my week and to make me as comfortable as possible. They put my needs first! Although I was already a Marriott fan, this great service has just reinforced how much I like Marriott and will go out of my way to stay at a Marriott whenever possible.
Don’t think that a customer service culture is just a management pipe dream. Purposefully define your customer service culture and then build it around these principles and your customers will become diehard fans, provide free word-of-mouth marketing and form the foundation of a “repeat business” machine!
Are your employees doing what is best for your business and the customer or are they just “doing their job”?
“The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary.” Sam Walton
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