By Jeff Walker
In my last article, I wrote about customer service and defined just what good customer service is all about. In this article we’ll take a look at ways to achieve good customer service, and what tools you can apply to increase customer satisfaction.
As I stated previously, customer service is the number one aspect of any business that affects how its customers view that company, and whether or not that company deserves their repeat business, or recommends that business to people they know. Customer service is a company’s first and last line of defense. It helps bring people in the door, and it holds that door for the customer on the way out. So what tools can I use to increase the satisfaction of my customers?
communicating with your customer is without a doubt, the most critical aspect of customer service. Good communication goes both ways, it involves listening to your customer, and giving them an informed answer to their questions, and handling any problems they may have by finding a solution to that problem. For example, a common question which usually comes up in the middle of transit is: Where’s my stuff? This is generally a question that can be answered with about 10 minutes worth of research. If you don’t know off the top of your head, tell the customer you will look into it and get back to them. Make sure you give them a timeline on when you will get back to them and follow up on what you promised! A promise unfulfilled decreases the amount of trust a customer has in you and your company, so make sure that you follow up on anything you tell your customer you will do for them (see below).
If you tell a customer you will do something for them, not only should you do it, but do it in a timely fashion. Telling a customer that you will get them a piece of information for them, such as a price for full valuation of their items is not something to sit on. If you decide to go off and help other customers while this customer is waiting, they might just decide to go shop other moving companies because you haven’t gotten back to them. Following up with a customer builds trust that you will not only do what you said, but that you will do it in a meaningful time frame, one that doesn’t keep the customer sitting and waiting. The longer they wait, the less confidence they will have in your abilities.
Ability to listen to your customers
I mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating. Taking the time to listen, really listen to your customer will save you time and effort down the road. If you find out that there is a problem, make sure you understand the details to that problem and what about the situation is particularly annoying to the customer. Once you take the time to understand, you can focus your efforts better on solving the issue the first time around, rather than throwing Band-Aids on the issue time and time again. If a customer has a complaint, making sure the situation is resolved the first time around increases their confidence in you and your company.
Additionally, if you are involved in the sales process, taking the time to listen to your customer will tell you what aspect of their move is most important to them, whether it’s making sure their items are fully insured (full valuation) or making sure your team arrives on time and ready to go when you tell the client they will be there. Listening to the needs of your client up front will save you incredible amounts of hassle down the road, and instead of having to focus your efforts on making something right, you’ve got everything lined up and ready to go, and it will be right the first time around.
Lastly, taking the time to listen to your customers lets them know that you care about their needs, which leads to further trust between you and your client.
Make sure your entire staff and the customer knows what to expect ahead of time
Setting expectations is usually the job of the sales department. They set the expectations of the customer, as well as the team who is fulfilling the work order. Studies show that on average, a person or a family may only move seven times in their life. Because of this, many moving customers won’t have any idea of what to expect during their move. They will probably have some pre-conceived notions as to what should happen, but ultimately, it’s up to their sales representative to set realistic expectations on the moving process and what the customer can expect.
Some part of setting the customers’ expectations will inevitably have to do with the price of the move. Why is my move so expensive?! This can be difficult for someone who hasn’t had to deal with this question in the past, but you should be able to find someone on your staff that can help you justify the expense of the move. You can easily do this by outlining the expenses you incur, such as gas, truck maintenance, labor etc, but ultimately you will want to stress the quality of your workforce as the justification of the expense. I tell customers all the time, you get what you pay for, and the moving industry is no exception. If push comes to shove, and you find yourself dealing with a customer who has a quote from a shady outfit, you can always send the customer to MovingScam.com and have the volunteers here help that customer sort things out. At least then, you have a third party volunteer, who has no investment in your company telling the customer you’re right on the ball.
Next time we’ll continue with our customer service series and add a few more tools to our toolbox.
- Next: Customer Service Part 3: Tools of the Trade (Continued)
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