Proactively respond to difficult service situations
Resolve customer complaints
Develop customer relations
The delivery of quality customer service is, without question, the most important aspect of any business that wants to be successful. While a good location, product range and well trained staff are, certainly, up there in terms of importance, none of these things matter if customers will not do business with you.
Delivery of excellent customer service, however, is more than simply having staff smile, say hello and be courteous and friendly to customers. It is a matter of having set and well thought out policies and strategies. Without these service may be subject to fluctuation – great one day and substandard the next. Organisational standards, then, are an essential aspect in customer service delivery.
What are standards?
The development of a standard can be a complex and long process involving government agencies and industry bodies and associations. For purely internal organisational purposes, however, and at its very simplest, a standard is a statement that describes the level of performance that staff must work to in order to be competent in that task. The establishment of workplace standards will give staff guidance on how they are to behave, and the benchmarks to be achieved at all times. This will then lead to a consistently high level of service; one that customers can come to expect and rely on and one that will enhance the organisation’s reputation for quality.
“In the absence of any clearly defined, communicated and understood standard of performance, whatever the worker does is right.”
Look at the above statement; in the absence of any clearly defined, communicated and understood standard of performance the worker does not know what is expected of them and the work they do may fall far below an acceptable level. Who is at fault here – the worker or the company, for not telling the worker exactly how the job is to be performed? You cannot place blame on a person for not doing the job correctly – if there is no procedure or standard to follow.
Standards are a measure of how tasks and activities must be fulfilled each and every time. This ensures:
that the company’s products or services are of a consistently high quality.
that the workers know exactly what they have to do, in order to perform their duties correctly.
that there is no confusion in the workplace at any level, as to what needs to be done and how it has to be done.
… more on standards in the learner guide ……
Provide a quality service experience
As mentioned in the introduction, the delivery of customer service to the highest degree is vital to any organisation that wants to be successful and cannot be underestimated. A sound customer service strategy has many benefits including;
It builds trust – These days, people will only stay loyal to a company if they have very good reason to. If you don’t provide the service they expect they could choose to move to to a competitor. As a result, you have to work even harder to keep customers and build their trust in your brand. By providing the best in customer service, you will increase trust, and that could mean the difference between customer loyalty and customers who leave.
Customer service often matters more than price – various studies have shown that, to a large group of consumers, customer service is much more important than price and to get the right level of service, they are willing to pay a premium.
It will build brand awareness – Word of mouth is one of the most powerful methods of generating loyalty and gaining new customers; what your existing customers say to others could make or break your business. When you provide the best in customer service people will talk about you; they will remember your brand and if they hear of someone who need a specific kind of product or service, they are much more likely to recommend you. And the best part of this is it doesn’t cost anything other than offering excellent service.
Good customer service reduces problems – Problems are always going to arise for any business no matter how hard you try to avoid them. While you can’t run a perfect business with perfect customers, you can ensure that conflict doesn’t become an issue; if customers know that they can voice complaints and those issues will be handled quickly and efficiently, they will feel more comfortable doing business with you.
Determining and confirming customer preferences, needs and expectations.
Not all customers, however, will need or expect the same thing; to some a holiday at sea means a fully fledged cruise on a ship with shops, pools, plenty of entertainment, wining and dining options. To others it means barging down a canal in France or sailing along the coast of Queensland in a bare boat charter. It is up to you, then, to determine what the customers exact preferences, needs and expectations of a sea based holiday are so that you can advise them of the best options available to them and to make the appropriate bookings.
In a more immediate sense; if the customer is standing in front of you and checking into your hotel their requirements will need to be fulfilled right there and then. So you need to be able to communicate effectively; asking the right type of questions, listening attentively to their answers and watching their body language so that you can anticipate their needs.
To do this effectively you need to;
Understand that some people have specific preferences and you will have to consider these in your recommendations
Understand that there is a difference between needs and expectations