Customer care has become one of the most important issues facing businesses in every market. Customer-care programs come under a number of titles -- customer services, customer satisfaction, customer focus, etc.
Their common theme is meeting the customer's requirements and ensuring that all aspects of the business contribute to customer satisfaction. The intention is to build repeat business. If customers are satisfied with the product and the standards of service they receive, they will return again and again.
Inconsistent Customer Care
Inconsistent customer care performance can have a negative effect on customer perceptions. Gas stations, for example, know that every time a customer walks into one of their outlets, wherever they are in the country, they should expect to receive the same standards of service. Nationwide consistency is essential when customers are likely to visit multiple outlets -- one poor performance can threaten the customer's perception of the entire operation.
What Is Customer Care?
Customer care is about addressing three sets of requirements: the customer, your staff, and the overall organization.
These requirements are inter-related, i.e., it is more difficult to deliver consistently high standards in customer care if the needs of both the organization and the staff are not taken into account.
Customer Care Requirements
Your customer requires a few basic elements to feel satisfied and motivated to return. These include:
Excellent personal service -- the customer feels valued, listened to, treated as an individual
Your products have to meet basic expectations
Customers need encouragement to express their views and give feedback
Clients require an effective relationship with the overall organization
Problems and complaints must be handled effectively
To keep customers happy, you have to have an energized, motivated staff that is onboard with your company's overall customer service philosophy. Your staff needs:
Supervisors with effective management style
Suitable working environment -- including pay and conditions, and the right tools for the job
Relevant training to develop skills
Career potential -- no one wants to feel they are in a dead-end position
Clarity of role/job description
Performance standards and appraisal systems
Sense of involvement/value
Rewards and recognition for a job well done
Organizations with a successful customer-care policy have the following:
Feedback and communication systems
Human and technical resources
Who Are Your Customers?
If you are not serving the customer, you should be serving someone who is. Harmonious relationships with customers and colleagues are essential to service success, because providing outstanding customer service is primarily a team effort. For excellent customer service to exist, it has to be practiced on an internal basis.
The What and the How
The "what" is the material and the "how" is the personal element. To be outstanding, organizations must deliver excellence in both material and personal service. Customer service is no longer just a question of interpersonal skills.
The difference between you and your competitors is achieved when expectations are exceeded. Doing the unexpected, going the extra mile, moves us from meeting expectations to exceeding expectations.
How To Delight Customers
Be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is the driving force of quality service. Customers do not just want products, they want products plus enthusiasm.
Be professional. The word "professional" does not go with the job -- it goes with the person.
Be the Best
Someone, somewhere has to be the best at this job -- why not me?
Decide to be outstanding
How To Be the Best
Use positive self talk -- e.g., tell yourself, "Every day, in every way, I get better and better."
Don't be ordinary
Develop a 'How can I do it better?' mindset
Today, Everyone Sells
In a successful company, the number of salespeople equals the number of employees. Even if your primary occupation is customer service, by providing excellent customer care, you are in effect keeping this customer and providing for future sales for your company.
So, in a sense, everyone sells something -- products, services or even the image of the company.