Ask any small business owner if it is important to deliver outstanding customer service and they will answer yes without hesitation. In practice, most companies never actually do. This focus on the customer gets lost somewhere between the owner’s mission statement and the employees’ actions because they miss key steps.
Here is how to ensure your employees have a passion for customer service:
1. Practice what you preach. If the small business owner is not passionate, then none of the employees will be. They need to show that they are willing to put immediate customer needs above the short term monetary gain of the company on a daily basis. This is important since every employee is always watching the actions managers take and how they prioritize profit vs. customers. The small business owner needs to be involved with customer issues regularly and reward employees that demonstrate “extreme” customer service.
2. Hire people that actually like working with other people. To work well with customers on the phone or through email, the small business owner must hire employees that actually like other people. This may seem like a silly criteria, but it is an important distinction. A good indicator is to check out their social media feeds to see if they have supportive interactions with others and just don’t post their updates focused solely on themselves.
3. Demonstrate that customer service is the new marketing. Social media allows a disgruntled customer to tell thousands of people rather than just a few. Now, buyers consistently use online reviews in their purchase decision more than company advertising. Loyal customers can amplify the company’s message and increase its sales! The danger is that customers are always more likely to say something negative about their experience with a company than positive. Both of these responses can be harnessed by a savvy customer service staff that realizes how important responding to these comments truly are.
4. Quantify the cost of a new customer. Show the team how much it actually costs to get a new customer vs. keeping one that the company has. Ensure that as much resources goes into keeping customers as finding new ones. This is rarely done as most companies are too busy chasing new customers in the front door with special offers as existing ones leave out their back door. These activities actually do nothing to increase long term sales or profitability.
How do you instill a passion for customer service in your company?
Barry Moltz gets small businesses unstuck. He is a small business motivational speaker, writer, and radio host. Barry can be found at www.barrymoltz.com