Every business, regardless of their efforts, eventually runs into some kind of customer service problem. Again, it’s easier to disappoint a customer than to make a loyal relationship. Count on there being a mistake at some point, even if it hasn’t happened yet. It’s your responsibility to know how to best handle that situation.
Create a System to Address Issues
If a problem comes up, look at why that happened and what the solution was. Write up a plan for your employee to be able to refer back to, and then personally communicate to your customers to let them know you’re going to find out why that happened to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.
Ask yourself, am I being a good leader? That means initially, making sure your employees have the proper tools to do what they need to do, correctly, efficiently, and beyond expectation for the customer. Give them a model for what 5-star customer service looks like. Then give them a model for how to be accountable if/when something goes wrong.
Actions Show You Care
Take your customer’s feelings and experiences and make them your own. These include: Checking your systems, making sure they make the customer’s experience the best it could be and making sure your organization within the company provides that experience. If it doesn’t, be responsible by owning your mistake, apologizing, and taking action to fix it.
Two Basic Tips to Keep in Mind
Communicate to your customers. Tell them that if they’re having a positive experience, you want to know. Let them know you want to know what they’re enjoying, so that you can deliver that experience to other customers and continue to deliver it to them.
A similar concept goes for any issues. On top of making up for what went wrong, you want to fix any problems so nobody else has to experience them. Personalized communication can be invaluable at a time like this, writing to a client to let them know you’re looking into why the problem happened in the first place. You’ll follow up with them, once you’ve discovered the problem and how to prevent it from happening again.
Also, make sure your employees feel they have ownership over their positions. This involves giving them a fair amount of responsibility. You shouldn’t need a supervisor to essentially babysit your employees, nor should they need a supervisor to vent all their unofficial complaints. Instead, what your business needs is a strong and successful management team.
Allowing your employees to take ownership gives your team responsibility they likely have been wanting. There might be some discomfort at first, if you’re switching over from a different method, but in the long term it will be better for everyone. You’ll find that it trickles down to better customer service and consistent excellence.
Consistently Delivering Excellence
When you want the service you’re giving your customers to be consistent, effective systems work best. Systems are groups of working parts, which continue to work even when you’re not there. There should be a system in place for the way you produce and deliver your product or service. This system might seem the most concrete. The actual product and experience you’re delivering has to be created in steps, and those steps are the obvious pieces of your system.
Less obvious is the system that would allow your employees to operate most effectively with clients. Although it might seem counterintuitive, your employees will be best able to deliver unique, individualized customer service when they have a set of guidelines to follow. It’s about confidence. You can provide the tools via a system, so that your employees have a better understanding of how to act with customers, what their customers will expect and how to communicate most effectively. Once your employees know the guidelines, they can more easily and confidently improvise.
Another important system that is a part of your customer’s overall experience covers what to do when there is a mistake. This is an especially important system, because it could be the difference between losing customers and developing or repairing strong trust. The most effective form of this system would allow your employees to address the problem and make up for it at no cost to the customer. It would also involve your communication with the customer, a promise to investigate how the problem was allowed to occur, and follow-up to let the customer know a solution has been put in place to avoid the problem in the future.