With 2015 only about a month old, I thought I would share some of my favorite customer service tips for the new year.
Here are 15 pointers for 2015 that can help you build your business:
1. Get back to the basics of customer service. Be polite and say please and thank you.
2. Speaking of basics, use the customer's name. It helps with building rapport.
3. Always do what you say you are going to do. If you say you'll call back in five minutes, don't make it 10.
4. Everyone has customers. Sometimes they are externalcustomers who pay you money. Sometimes they are internalcolleagues with whom you work. Sometimes they are both. Everyone has customers.
5. Let your customers know your name and how to contact you so in case they're inadvertently disconnected, have another question, or if there is any other reason they might need a friend at the company, they can easily get back in touch with you.
6. Respond quickly. Return calls, emails and any other types of requests quickly.
7. Be punctual for meetings. It's expected you will be on time. It's a sign of disrespect if you aren't.
8. Monitor social channels for comments from your customers and, once again, respond quickly.
9. Treat employees the way you want your customers treatedif not even better. What's happening inside an organization is felt on the outside by the customer.
10. Some companies' customer service people focus on one-call resolution. Try a no-transfer resolution.
11. Create a consistent experience. Everyone does their best every day. Customers want and expect a consistent, positive attitude from everyone they come into contact with.
12. Empower people to make great customer-focused decisions. This comes through hiring the right people and training them properly.
13. Constantly train your staff in how to improve customer service. It may be short five- or 10-minute tips. It needs to be ongoing. Training isn't something you did. It's something you do.
14. Everyone always has two jobs: to do the job they were hired to do and to take care of the customer.
15. Be a customer service role model. Regardless of what you do for your company, be that person everyone admires and wants to emulate.
Don't just read this listuse it! Choose the tips that resonate with you and your business' staff. Circle them. Then focus on each suggestion one at a time, perhaps one each week.
And be sure to share this list with your business colleagues. Maybe even your customers.
Here's to 2015 being your best customer year ever.
Shep Hyken operates St. Louis-based Shepard Presentations L.L.C. and is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author who periodically contributes columns to Tire Business. He can be reached at 314-692-2200 or via his website at www.Hyken.com. This piece originally appeared in Mr. Hyken's e-newsletter, The Shepard Letter. Follow him on Twitter: @Hyken