Customer service is the backbone, the foundation and the ultimate core of any business. Exceptional customer service skills enable a company to exceed the customer’s expectations for every interaction. In an age where client service seems to be “out of style,” it is more important than ever that company associates/sales representatives create connections that cultivate repeat business.
In the past, companies taught their associates to think and behave like “salespeople.” However, this is an outdated way of thinking. It is imperative to have customer representatives understand that they can make a difference and they must – on a consistent basis – provide outstanding customer service. This reinforces to customers/clients that the company appreciates and values them and, this in turn, is instrumental for business.
According to Richard Shapiro, a highly regarded expert in the specialized field of customer retention, president of TCFCR and author of the book, The Welcomer Edge: Unlocking the Secrets to Repeat Business, most companies are cutting corners on service thinking that it will result in higher gross margins. This approach will result in nominal gains in profit, but long-term negative trends in both revenues and earnings.
Shapiro recommends implementing the following business strategies to help improve customer service and increase repeat business for any company, regardless of the industry or size:
- Realize that frontline associates such as cashiers, hostesses, tellers, phone representatives, etc. are frequently the best and sometimes the company’s only opportunity to communicate customer appreciation and generate momentum for repeat business;
- Insure that your frontline associates like to help people, are interested in learning new things and that they understand that they have the ability to positively impact every customer transaction;
- Make sure you value and appreciate those associates who can make a difference, as much as they appreciate the company’s customers by rewarding frontline associates with appropriate compensation; and
- Quantify the dollar contribution that your frontline associates bring to the bottom line – it will demonstrate how valuable delivering exceptional service can be.