By Shep Hyken, Special to Tire Business
“What makes good customer service?”
That's a question I was asked in a recent interview. And normally I would say attentive people, knowledgeable employees, great attitudes, strong relationship-building skills, and a desire to serve. While all that — and more — can create good customer service, there is an even larger answer to consider.
We cannot determine if we give good customer service. Only our customers can do that. In other words, it is our customers' perceptions that determine if we've provided good or bad customer service. The customer acts as the judge and jury. As a business, we can only hope that our efforts are in line with our customers' expectations. And only our customers will determine if we have met or exceeded them.
Good customer service starts on the inside with a company's culture. I've preached this before. Leadership must create a customer service vision that every employee can relate to. It must be concise, simple and easy to remember. I call it the service “mantra,” and employees must be trained to adhere to it — not just once, but continuously. Remember, training isn't something you did. It's something you constantly do.
All employee must do their part. Once they understand the vision and are properly trained, they must manage every interaction they have with their customers for an optimal experience. The secret to making it optimal is within reach of anyone or any company.
Just make the experience better than average. Just a little. That may sound easy, but what makes it a little more difficult is that it must happen all the time. In other words, the customer can count on it each and every time he or she visits your place of business. A consistent and predictable experience — that is better than average — is what makes for good customer service.
So take some time to talk with your employees about your company's service vision. If you don't yet have one, this is a good time to start the process of creating one, then begin tweaking your service.
Talk about it. Practice it. Get feedback about it. And make sure you're not just meeting — but rather, exceeding — your customers' expectations, if even ever so slightly. Your customers will tell you if you are. And that's how you'll know if you are delivering “good” — even amazing — customer service.
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact him via www.hyken.com. For information on his customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow him on Twitter: @Hyken