Customer Service is the never–ending pursuit of excellence to keep customers so satisfied that they tell others of the way they were treated in your place of business. Is that the way your customers feel?
If they do, you're among 5% of American businesses. The other 95% fall short of that mark according to Ty Boyd. For years Ty has compiled information and spoken worldwide on the subject of Customer Service.
Every business has a different definition of customer service because of the diverse types of their products and services. "The constant among them," says Ty Boyd, "are the attributes of customer service."
Here are the twelve key attributes presented in his seminar last week. How many are present in your company? If you can't answer "yes" to all of the attributes below, you're losing customers to your competition. That's a comforting feeling, isn't it?
- Dedication to customer satisfaction by every employee in the company.
- Immediate response to the customer (now, not tomorrow).
- Individuals taking responsibility for customer's needs (no buck passing).
- Do what you say and follow up immediately.
- Agree with and empathy for the complaint or situation of the customer.
- Flexibility to serve specific needs of individual customers (the ability to go beyond policy).
- An empowerment of employees to decide.
- Consistent on-time delivery.
- Deliver what you promise before AND after the sale.
- A "zero defects" and "error-free" delivery program.
- Outstanding people to serve customers and implement customer service.
- Smile when talking on the phone.
"Write down and live your customer service policy," says Boyd passionately.
Here are some examples, presented by Ty Boyd, of American corporate leadership and innovation in customer service:
Auto Zone – Named their service "WOW Service" and they live up to it.
They have a "GOTTChA" program – get out to the customers car and assist.
They use the WITTGTJDR PHILOSOPHY– What ever it takes to get the job done right. Do you? Auto Zone has high energy, knowledgeable employees dedicated to greeting and helping customers, with a special emphasis on helping women feel informed about the products they need. Never selling more than is absolutely needed. Their stores are alive and customers can feel it.
Nordstroms – Their entire service policy to employees is: Use your good judgement in all situations. Seminar attendees who had shopped there cited example after example of service way beyond the call of duty, including going to competitors to buy products they are out of or don't stock and delivering them to customers at no additional charge.
LL Bean – Before any employee can say "no" to a customer, he must have senior management approval. Think about that.
The philosophy is simple, legendary service builds fortunes in repeat customers. Poor service will drive your customers to your competition.
Every time you encounter a customer try this: Measure the value (and profit) of a customer over 10 years, and you begin to look at them in a whole new way.
Ty has compiled a list of "ways to get close to your customer."
Here are a few samples:
- Have top management people make sales calls regularly.
- Install a customer hot line.
- Make it a policy to return all inquiry or complaint calls within one hour.
- Set a goal to resolve every complaint within 24 hours. Then shorten it to 12 hours.
- Have your top staff/management personally answer complaints.
- Create a slogan centered around "(Our Company) means SERVICE." Put it on your walls, on your letterhead, on your literature, on uniforms, tattoo it on your foreheads.
Ty Boyd's 51 Ways to Get Closer to Your Customer. Because the customer is the real boss! Just go to www.gitomer.com, register if you're a first time user and enter the words, 51 WAYS in the GitBit box.