If you have any experience in the service industry, you have likely heard the Golden Rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. Great advice to stand alone but if you want to stand out in today's industry, you will need to use the Platinum Rule: treat others how THEY want to be treated. I challenge the status quo that this rule will bring you higher revenue.
Take a fresh look at customer service and they way your staff are doing things. Be open to trying new approaches and criticism. Empathy will always drive sales.
the act or manner of which a product is delivered.
The way the customer is treated trumps the benefits, features, perks, or warranties.
Poor service is a symptom of staff who are not properly educated in the rudiments of their profession. If you track this dilemma further, you will find that the management has not paid the same amount of attention to the staff’s education or operational challenges as it has to other concerns. Ultimately, it’s a matter of an overall team taking responsibility for the customer’s priorities. The leadership has a responsibility to provide the tools, training, and systems for success and it’s the employee’s responsibility to execute it and adjust when necessary. If there is miscommunication, challenges, or neglect anywhere in the process then sales will suffer. Every company in every industry has an opportunity to differentiate themselves by providing great service.
Jim Sullivan, writing in Nation’s Restaurant News says “ Customers will forgive mistakes in the kitchen more than mistakes in bad service.” Customers want anticipation of their mood and needs. Furthermore, they want customization. They want you to refer to them by their name and feel like they are seen, heard, and known. They don’t want to feel forgotten, used, or manipulated into an unwanted situation. They want to receive a pleasant experience.
Not only is this something that is evident on numerous surveys as an issue, but it’s a progressive movement in business. Humans are hard-wired for human interaction with doses of oxytocin to their lymbic system. The days of cold, nonthinking, and unemotional interactions dissolved with the rise of the Internet. Finally thousands of reviews on a single establishment prove a satisfactory ranking or a huge red flag to lose your hard-earned cash. The effect of positive or negative word of mouth spreading digitally is only one of the major benefits the Internet has brought the 21st Century.
Customer service is the way you do everything, everything matters.
It’s the way you answer the phone, carry the product into their hands, and how you open a door. It’s a friendly smile. It’s a welcoming tone. It’s accommodating a special request. I emphasize that service goes beyond treating others the way we want to be treated. It’s communication to the customer that their priorities match our priorities as a company. We care about their concerns, which is the essence of a thriving business. Customers are the center of companies’ purpose and growth. Get this principal wrong and struggle with long-term success as a business.
BE WHERE THE ACTION IS
Wander around. Our brains can only focus on a select information at a time. Employees don't expect you to lead the team from an office. The customers want to see your face and hear you asking questions. Welcome your guests and be curious about their experiences. Ask for feedback. Don't be shy. Customers love to know you are listening and taking action. In fact, the only thing they love more than being heard is watching the improvements over time. It helps them feel a sense of ownership to the development of your establishment. When they feel like they have contributed, they will share their high opinions with friends and family. They will return over and over!
"Your confidence is your competence." This phrase means that humans are constantly judging your competence by how you hold yourself. They trust individuals who portray confidence in their intentions and move with presence and mindfulness. In other words, they won't trust you if you don't seem confident. To strengthen your confidence, you must be prepared. You must anticipate issues and address it. As your customers see you tackling problems, they will trust you to nurture future interactions. No one likes recommending a product or service they aren't certain can handle more business. Confidence will come with experience and practice. More business owners can develop it by putting themselves in new situations, researching topics, and preparing for various circumstances. This is where systems come into play with entrepreneurship. Your competency can drastically set you apart from your competitors by simply being confident and ready.
Friendliness is often overlooked as a competitive advantage and customer-service strategy. Customers don't want to call an establishment and hear a disgruntled employee with a bleak attitude. In fact, a poor attitude is an indication they are dissatisfied with supporting their company. Yes, he/she could be having a tough day; however when a customer is met with consistent pessimism or rudeness, they assume the company is a "sinking ship". It's likely not doing so great. Again, no one likes recommending a service that seems to be going under. It would hurt their reputation. A smile, approachable attitude, and politeness will go a long way for your brand. It doesn't just apply to first-hand experiences. If you have a customer (or group of customers) witness a dissatisfied customer, they will watch how you and your team handle it. Did your manager avoid conflict properly or dismiss it. Did they snap at the customer or keep their composure? Were they respectful in when faced with a stubborn customer? Employees, managers, and owners are always on display and demonstrating their values. Everything effects how it's perceived as a brand with your company.
If you ask your customers why they use your product or services they will typically give you obvious answers, which shouldn’t be discounted. I encourage you to consider aspects that may branch off or suggest deeper motivations. List the factors that may have determined their need for the product. It's important to know your customers better than they do. You are encouraged to research your demographic, perform experiments, and establish a listening dashboard (a survey) to hear their thoughts, concerns, and fears. They more you know, the more you can be prepared to tackle whatever comes your way. You can teach your team on how to handle solutions.
Everything above can help you develop your leadership, sales revenue, team satisfaction, and expose your company to more customers. Customer service seems like a simple thing, but it's often overlooked as a major key to success. The basis of good business is to be obsessed on serving your customers. If they are happy, then you will have the cashflow to prove it.