July 18, 2011 04:40 PM
What do you think of when you hear the term "customer service"? Maybe you've heard about the corner gas station attendant from years ago that used to clean your windshield, check your oil and your tire pressure while he filled your tank for you, and then brought you your change after you paid him (a whopping) 49 cents a gallon? How about the waitress that seems to be right there when you need something, but is invisible other times; the salesperson who calls to follow-up on your purchase to make sure you're satisfied. Many people think of Nordstrom, The Ritz-Carlton, Starbucks, and other retail organizations that have made a name for themselves with great customer service.
Well, I think we can ALL make a name for ourselves through great customer service. Whether you're a supplier or an internal employee, you have customers. And customers respond very favorably to even a little extra effort on our part to make sure they're satisfied with what we did for them.
Because customer service remains a true person-to-person interaction, it's one of those business "musts" that can't be automated. Sure, we can set up automatic reminders to check in with our customers, but the actual contact needs to be made by a real person. Granted, these days it's hard to actually get a live person on the phone, but even dropping an email to a customer to check up on them goes a long way toward letting them know that you value them as a customer.
Give it a try... contact a recent customer and say, "how are things working out on that project we completed recently"? Or, "I just wanted to be in touch to see how you are doing." Corny you say? Nope. I guarantee your customers will become advocates for you and your department, and you'll start to make a name for yourself very quickly.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on delivering great customer service in our business.