Successful companies know that there is great value in building strong professional relationships with customers. It is easier and less expensive to retain current customers than it is to find new ones. Companies that recognize the need to work harder in offering good customer service are the ones that will ultimately succeed.
In its most basic form, customer service is knowing and meeting your customers’ needs. But having customers who are simply satisfied is no longer enough. You want your customers to feel loyalty to your business. That is what will keep them from even thinking of trying something else and keep them coming back to you. Building customer loyalty takes time, commitment, and hard work. But most of all, it requires building a personal relationship between you, your staff, and the customer. When your customers know that you care about them as individuals their sense of loyalty to you will grow.
Creating a culture that is customer service oriented takes commitment from both managerial staff and employees. Customers expect the same level of service from every business they patronize, so it is important to implement a uniform customer service policy and train your employees to abide by that policy. No matter what, though, management is responsible for setting the tone for the company. If management doesn’t really care about customer service it will show, and that attitude will transfer to employees.
Follow these simple steps, and you will be on your way to fostering a customer serviced-oriented culture at your company:
- Start at the top with leaders committed to customer service.
- Identify current employees who are also committed to customer service and use them to help motivate others.
- Be prepared to commit the necessary resources – time, money, technology – to achieve your goal.
- Hire the right people and be ready to replace those that cannot – or will not – be retrained.
- Empower your employees with the ability to make on-the-spot decisions based on given situations, within pre-established guidelines.
- Make training – both initial and on-going – a priority.
Cascado, Debra C. “Creating a Customer Service Culture.” Medscape Business of Medicine. 24 April 2000. < http://www.medscape.com>.
Allen, John. “Creating a service-oriented company takes commitment.” Houston Business Journal. 10 April, 2009. <http://houston.bizjournals.com>.
- The “Thank You Effect”: 50 Small Ways to Improve Customer Service (slideshare.net)
- Tips on How To Make Customer Service Work Using Social Media (athingcalledservice.wordpress.com)
- Creating a Customer Service Oriented Organization: 3 Lessons from the Walmart Approach to Customer Satisfaction (openviewpartners.com)
- 6 Keys to Getting the Best Out of Your Customer Service Team (business2community.com)