February 10, 2009

Looking For an Example of Great Customer Service?

In a previous post and in my next post on customer service, I give bad examples. Those show you what not to do. In this post, let’s look for a way to improve customer service. Are you looking for a way to improve but don’t know how to approach the subject with your employees? Instead of promising rewards or offering threats, consider using an example we can all relate to – the wait staff at a favorite restaurant. We all know what we consider good, bad, and great customer service when we are the one being served. Ask your employees to think about the last time they were at a restaurant. Then ask them to describe how they felt about the food service their waiter or waitress offered them.

You will get some good reports on standard expectations such as kept my glass full and took my order promptly. Then you will get some bad reports that seemed to leave a bad taste in the customer’s mouth which you can sense from the angered emotion they may display when they talk about how their food was delivered cold, their bill was wrong, they never got a drink refill, etc. Then there will be a few reports of great service where they were greeted with a continuous smile, friendly but not overbearing conversation, prompt service, always asked it they needed anything, and more.

Then ask your employees if their customers were looking at them as wait staff for the service your company provides, how do they think they would be rated? Would they be good enough, somewhat bad, or really great? If they have a problem deciding, then ask how they tip the good, bad, or great wait staff. Once they reply with “better than normal” or “give them zero”, ask if their work with the customer was a tipping situation, would the customer feel they deserve a tip? In most areas of customer service, a simple “thank you” by the satisfied customer is your standard tipper. An angry or dissatisfied customer is definitely a no tipper and possibly an upward complainer to management. A customer who is very satisfied with their service offers a better tip in their continued patronage and if they feel they were given above and beyond the call service, they may send a letter or email commending their server.

So which type of staff do you want your customers to experience? How can you promote a great service attitude? How can you teach your staff to listen better or answer the phone? Please share any new ideas or existing ideas you use to promote customer service in your company.

NOTE: For more examples of customer service, see The Institute for Management Excellence’s Good Customer Service Tips - It all starts with Attitude.

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