The first question you should ask yourself…How do you measure customer satisfaction?
If you are measuring by the # of complaints you are or are not receiving, you are in trouble. Not everybody bothers to take the time to tell you about his/her horrible experience. If you are asking your customers if they are satisfied, you are telling them that their satisfaction matters.
There are many different ways to ask: post-purchase and post-support surveys, enclosures in the monthly invoice, follow-up phone calls, and quarterly or annual surveys. The right method depends on your business and your customer base in customer service skills. Try different ways. Just do it.
4 Tenets For Your Customer Service Mission
A few basic rules about customer service:
Honesty is the Best Policy. Integrity
Be honest and own up to your mistakes. Communicate what you plan to do to change or prevent the same mistake from happening again. Don’t be fooled into believing that a regular ‘mea culpa’ will get you off the hook. At some point, the plan to fix the problem must take effect because customer service is important always!
Break Glass in Case of Fire. Response Time
The best tact is to quickly get on the phone with the customer to explain your company’s mistake and accept their customer feedback. Don’t rely on email for this communication if it can be done quickly one on one. If you are communicating to a large customer base then email is certainly the fastest and most effective way to quickly notify your customers that you are aware of the problem. Frequent updates if there is a protracted issue and a brief overview of how you will prevent it from happening in the future will give your customers confidence that you are aware of the customer impact as the customer service manager with the customer support team.
Keeping it Real. Set a Realistic Expectations
Customers who have been promised something that isn’t delivered as promised are far more frustrated and disappointed than if they are notified at the outset they won’t have it sooner than later. In other words, under-promise and over-deliver is the best policy. This may take some arm wrestling with other departments who want to take a feature or product to market before it is ready. Set the expectations correctly internally as to what the fallout may be so everyone understands the impact on customer satisfaction and ultimately customer retention with the excellent service you provide.
Everyone in your company should love your customers. Without them, you have no company. This doesn’t mean you won’t have difficult customers who will push the limits and try everyone’s patience. But if you don’t have a company philosophy to respect and appreciate your customers for great customer service, the opposite tone will infect customer interactions from all departments specifically with the customer service professionals or the customer service managers. All departments, customer-facing or not, should care about customer satisfaction and good customer service.
From Gandhi, “We must become the change we want to see in the world.”
Use these 4 tenets as the foundation for your excellent customer service mission. What do you do to ensure your customers are treated as your most important asset with your exceptional service? When will you say why customer service important?