10 Things to Ensure Great Service

Last week, we in the USA experienced that great holiday of shopaholics, Black Friday.  This is the day when crazed shoppers fight and scrap for the best deals on gifts for the holiday season.  On this day, service often takes a back seat to simply keeping up and the mayhem often makes businesses and their employees forget the principles that make for good service.  Well, here are ten things (there are more but I went with ten) in no particular order that may make your service better over the holiday season and hopefully in the longer term.

  1. Get congruent. What customers see is what they believe, however, it may not be what you want them to believe. Make sure the messages that are telegraphed by your workplace, advertising, etc. are matched by your actions, words and policies.
  2. Maintain a good reputation. When customers are unhappy, they complain to friends, relatives, and the world on the internet. Your reputation is only as good as every one of your customers’ experiences. Every employee should understand this whether they touch customers or not.
  3. Empower your people. Employees must be trained and allowed to make decisions on their own to help a customer without talking to “the boss.” The “boss” should be a last recourse for dire cases. 
  4. Listen to your customers. Give customers some way to voice their thoughts about your business. Take the time to hear or read their comments carefully, and, whether you like it or not, pay serious attention and take action. 
  5. Give your employees a break.Be sure to have a space where employees can kick and scream out of sight of your customers. Dealing with people can be frustrating, and when we’re frustrated, we often do and say things we shouldn’t.  A place to vent can keep unfortunate events from happening. 
  6. Admit your mistakes. Every person and company makes mistakes. Admit them, apologize, and make amends even if it costs you.  Believe me the short-term cost will be better than the long-term, negative word-of-mouth.
  7. Keep your promises. If you make a promise, make sure it is kept and that you follow through to completion. Even if you made an error and promised too much, keep the promise.  The story of greatness will be worth more than what you lost. 
  8. Acknowledge great performance.If a customer can recognize an employee, so can you. Give public kudos to your great performers, particularly if a customer told you so.  It is good for them and good for you.  What you’re really doing is endorsing that employee’s performance as the example that everyone else will want to emulate. 
  9. Adapt. Every one of us is different. Don’t go with scripted, generic service.  Treat every customer as unique.  Learn who they are and take time with them.  Customers are people, not transactions. 
  10. Protect the people who keep you in business. Having fine print that the customer should have read to avoid some calamity is simply unfair play.  As a business person, you should be there to protect your customers not find ways to hurt them with hidden policies, charges or legal mumbo jumbo.  Be straightforward and transparent. What customers see should be what they should expect to get.

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