Today’s guest post is written by Kirt Manecke, author of the book: Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service – The Essential 60-Minute Crash Course. I firmly believe that the service basics to Deliver the World’s Best Customer Experience are common sense. But for most businesses, it just isn’t common practice. That’s because many owners and managers see customer service training as a “Day One and Done” kind of thing. But businesses that have built a reputation for stellar service continuously train their people. They keep the service lesson simple, repeat it often, and ultimately make it stick. If you don’t know where to start and need a primer on customer service basics, as well as a single resource for periodic training reminders for your team, Kirt’s book will definitely keep you on track to Deliver the World’s Best Customer Experience. You can learn more about Kirt and his book, which I highly recommend, at the end of the post.
Customer service is important to your business because first impressions matter…a lot! Here are four quick and easy critical customer service techniques you and your staff can implement today to sell more and delight your customers.
When a customer enters your business or office, greet them promptly and politely – just as you would greet a guest in your home.
1. Smile. Make it a warm, genuine, heartfelt smile.
2. Look your customer in the eye and say “Hello!” Speak in a warm, upbeat, and friendly manner.
This may sound basic, but you’d be surprised how many businesses fail to greet their customers properly.
2. MAKE A FRIEND
People buy from people they like and trust – from friends – so it’s important to remember the golden rule: Treat people the way you’d like to be treated. Be nice, be polite, and don’t be afraid to approach a customer to initiate an exchange. Make a friend!
1. Greet your customer properly (with a genuine smile and a warm “Hello!”).
2. Engage them in an initial short and friendly conversation. Find out how they’re doing: “It’s nice to see you. How’s your day going?” When appropriate, give a genuine compliment: “I really like your sweater.”
3. Then find out how you can help them: “What exactly brings you in today?” or “How can I help you?”
3. ANSWER THE PHONE WITH A SMILE
When you answer the phone at your place of business, you’re the first point of contact with your prospects and customers. It’s critical that you make a great first impression.
How do you find the right tone? It’s simple — smile as you answer the phone.
1.Smile and say: “Good morning (or afternoon or evening)!” Be sure to speak clearly.
- State the complete name of your business, or say: “Welcome to [your complete business name].”
- Say: “This is [your name]. How may I help you?”
Be upbeat, warm, inviting, and genuine — greet customers just as you would greet a guest in your home.
4. FOLLOW UP
Follow-up is key to providing amazing customer service and making sales. Always follow up promptly with customers and provide timely updates and communications.
Return phone calls right away – at least by the end of the business day, at worst within 24 hours.
The rule for email is exactly the same: return all email inquiries from customers as soon as possible – at least by the end of the business day, at worst within 24 hours.
If you’re an automotive or other service business with a waiting room, keep your customers informed on the status of their repair on a consistent basis, perhaps hourly. Don’t leave them wondering or feeling disrespected or ignored.
TIP: In all situations, a good rule of thumb is to always do what you say you’re going to do. If you promise someone you’ll “call them right back” or “get right back to them,” then do it! Many businesses neglect this simple rule and lose many customers as a result.
Parts excerpted from Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service, Copyright © 2013 by Kirt Manecke. Kirt Manecke is the author of the award-winning book Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service – The Essential 60-Minute Crash Course. He is the founder and former owner of an award-winning specialty retail business in Michigan. Learn more about Kirt at www.SmiletheBook.com.