A customer’s perception of your service can be made or broken by how you handle a single request for help. And providing superior service isn’t hard. In fact, it’s a lot easier than providing poor service. The best thing about providing excellent service is that both parties win. While the customer receives the benefit of your efforts, you receive the satisfaction of having done your best. To ensure you’re providing excellent service with every interaction, follow this simple three-step model.
1. Ask questions to identify or clarify the customer’s needs. Asking questions shows your customer that you are interested in helping them and are really listening to what they say. Effective questioning can also save you time and effort. Most importantly, asking questions leads to better service. While in the process of gathering information from your customer, you often uncover other needs or opportunities you can address; leading to a more memorable experience.
– Make sure to ask enough questions in order to fully understand the issue at hand, but not so many that you unnecessarily delay providing service.
– Start with open-ended questions – questions designed to gather a great deal of information.
– Use active listening skills such as taking notes, using body language that shows interest, and verbal encouragement.
2. Suggest a course of action. After you have gathered as much information as possible, recommend next steps.
– Clearly state your recommendation for next steps.
– Reinforce your suggestion with any supporting information.
– Ask for agreement.
– Do what you say you are going to do.
3 Build trust by adding value. To complete the service experience, add value by using one or more of these tactics.
– Provide information that enhances the customer’s understanding of the situation.
– Assist with other issues or questions uncovered during your interaction.
– Follow up to make sure things turned out as expected and offer additional help.
– Communicate any operational or process enhancements that came about as a result of the customer’s question or issue.
Service excellence isn’t difficult, but it does require intent and focus. By following this simple model, you’ll be sure to address every aspect of a customer’s request. And in the end, you’ll be rewarded with a stronger, more profitable relationship. That’s something we could all use more of.