Monday, April 2, 2012

Michelle Landis ? Blog Archive ? 5 Ways to Extreme Customer Service

5 Ways to Extreme Customer Service

Join master business coach Michelle Landis, as she strives to create success and abundance for every business owner with the ActionCOACH method of focus, accountability, and results. Visit our weekly Q & A session as Coach Michelle tackles real questions on a variety of issues - and provides you with answers that will BRING RESULTS for your company!

Question of the Week: ?As a small business owner, I believe great customer service is essential. But how do I really stand out from the competition??

Coach Michelle: Recognizing that excellent customer service - service that provides a ?WOW? factor and keeps your fans loyal - is a positive first step in gaining leverage over your competition. It should also include the realization that customer service is NOT mainly about how you handle and rectify complaints (although this is an important part as well). Truly excellent customer service is derived from being very proactive, through making your customers feel extremely special, and caring about them on a personal level.

It is exciting to live in a world where so many choices are at our finger tips, and with the internet and computers, the options seem truly limitless to most consumers. But this also makes for some difficult business strategizing - because being ?good? is simply no longer enough to hold on to a customer and gain their loyalty. Small businesses usually can?t compete with larger rivals on price or selection so service can become a powerful differentiator and add margin points to the bottom line. And statistics show that only 4 % of dissatisfied customers will let you know about it - they simply move on - and may spread the negative impact to friends and family as well.

According to Jeffrey Gitomer, author of Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless, ?Customer Loyalty is the measure of your present and future success. Everybody measures customer satisfaction. But if you want to have more profit, measure your loyalty.? And loyalty means: will your customers do business with you again, and will they tell others about you? How do you instill customer loyalty better than your competition?

5 Ways to Extreme Customer Service

  1. Attitude. It starts at the top - with you - the owner. It should travel down and be instilled in every single employee you retain. You must build enthusiastic employees and instill your goals, pride, and values in everyone. Remember that the quality of customer service cannot exceed the employees that deliver it.
  2. Know Your Perfect Client. You should have a target market, and your employees should understand this concept too. Your product and service must be EXCITING to this ideal, sweet-spot client. Small businesses cannot be everything to everyone. You need to clearly understand what you do and what customers fit you ? then you can really define how you will add value.
  3. Complaint Management. If you DO have an issue (and they will crop up from time to time) you need to have a consistent management plan in place. Gitomer advocates the REACT-RESPOND-RECOVER as a method to handle problems - then add something extra in as ?insurance.? This may actually get your clients telling others about the negative experience that turned into something really positive - and turn your mistakes into winning propositions for your business!
  4. Formally Measure Your Customer Service. Think of ways to systemize this process, such as: calculating your conversion rate, retention numbers, referral rates and think of a way to put a number on the cost of poor service. Also, don?t forget to solicit and use the feedback you get from your customers. You don?t need to rely on a computerized or written survey ? simply ask. You should, however, have at least 3 different ways of getting or receiving customer input.
  5. Add the WOW factor. Think of this factor as the little extras that you do for your customers over and above the normal product or service you provide. You need to touch the emotions of your customers and leave a lasting impression - through communication and building personal connections. You could start a VIP club, send thank you notes, remember names, smile, laugh, just figure out some way to get people talking about you - and feeling that they cannot imagine life without your product and stellar service.

Extreme customer service means moving beyond merely satisfied customers and building raving fans - which requires a shift in customer feelings and emotions toward you. Your customers should begin to feel PROUD to be your client. It?s up to you to create that personal connection - and make your customers feel better about themselves as a result of being your client. They will soon spread the news!

About the Author, Michelle Landis

Michelle is?a certified Master Business Coach and owner of ActionCOACH of Greater Lehigh Valley/Berks. She is an educator and a business professional with over 25 years experience in the business world running both small and medium sized businesses. She has an extensive background in education, executive management, sales & marketing, operations and entrepreneurial pursuits that include international consulting in China, extensive teaching and educational endeavors as well as executive leadership roles with General Electric, Dun & Bradstreet and Armstrong World Industries. Her leadership skills have delivered over $58 million to the bottom line.? Get a BUSINESS HEALTH CHECK with Michelle or connect with Michelle on FACEBOOK, join her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.

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