If you could read the only one book about customer service in your life, read “Customers for Life: How to Turn That One-Time Buyer Into a Lifetime Customer” by Carl Sewell and Paul Brown. This is the bible of good service. The basic idea is that instead of building a business on disposable sales, it is better to become a friend of your customers and serve them for a long time.
If you have read this book, then you already know how good it is. If you have not – read this squeeze of the main thoughts.
1. Listen to the customers and give what they need
Do not assume that you know the needs of the customers. You should know it for sure: ask them to complete a short questionnaire at the checkout. While the cashier counts the money and rolls or card, they just have a spare minute.
The questionnaire contains questions about the minimum expectations (satisfied or not), about the conformity of the goods and the prices (Does the client feel cheated?) and about the effectiveness of your work. These three questions will help you to understand how well you are working.
Ask the customers what they prefer, but do not force them.
2. Do more than you promise
First of all, do not promise too much. If you do not meet the expectations of the client, it doesn’t matter how well you do your job. The client will still be unhappy. Keeping promises is the most important part of the service.
Secondly, do a bit more than you’ve promised. A little bonus is always a delight. If you are selling a tourist ticket – add a guide, a map, and an international sim card. If you are selling computers – download free useful programs on them.
3. A single smile is not enough. Build a system
Politeness is the icing on the cake. Nobody wants those smiles if you produce a bad product or let the client down.
Build a workable system. In such a system work is done efficiently and on time. The key processes are reinsured. Everyone knows what he is responsible for. The calls are recorded, the registers are automatically filled. There is a list of items for the cleaning lady in the bathroom. The manager has all the checklists spelled out. Everyone knows what to do when something goes wrong.
The functional system is based on the question “What can go wrong?”. Everything that can be automated.
4. If the customer requests – say “Yes”
Provide additional services when the client requests. If you sell cars, you can help the customer to find a car service, overtake the car in another city, call a taxi, find a permanent driver, change a tire, make a second key, take the car for tinting or tailoring of a new salon, etc.
Change the understanding of your mission: from “selling cars” (“selling tours”, “selling computers”) to “helping the customer”.
5. Dismiss controllers
Controllers is evil. When an employee knows that someone will finish his work, he works negligently. Controllers reduce responsibility. If an employee makes a mistake, he should correct his mistake. Everyone should understand that.
Each return and claim is a reason to figure out what went wrong. Be sure to uncover the cause and correct it. Maybe your employee can’t do something, then he must be taught and this information must be added to the corporate knowledge base. Each complaint should improve the system.
6. Pay employees as partners
Tie the salaries of the employees with the specific indicators of their work, or even better with indicators of the company. Every employee should feel a personal responsibility for their standard of living. Pay more than average at the market. Take care of people as partners. Grow them.
It’s better to pay 20% more and get a 50% better job, than pay as everyone and lose customers.
7. Accept mistakes
Everyone can make a mistake. You should strive not to never make mistakes, but to accept them and be able to correct.
If you screw up, admit your guilt. Tell that you’re wrong. Decide what you will do to correct the mistake. Do it. And make a little extra.
To exonerate yourself and prove the client that you are not guilty is a dead-end road. Suppose you will be justified – what’s next? The client is still upset and feels that it’s your fault. He won’t return. So what’s the point that you were right?
About the book
The book “Customers for Life” has 36 chapters, each chapter has conclusions, examples, stories from the practice. It’s very easy to read. So, pay attention to this book. If you work with clients, it is definitely worth your time.