The brilliance of some companies and their ability to get customer service right always impresses me. However, the utter ignorance and lack of basic customer service of others leave me dumbfounded. I-actually-have-no-words type dumbfounded.
So here are my 5 top tips based on my years in marketing and for being an advocate of the customer is Queen/King:
1. If there is basic expectation for a product or service, over exceed it in every possible way.
Example: On my birthday trip to the Oxo tower last week, I was expecting greatness at every turn. When you’re paying a vast quantity of money for a meal, I expect everything to be perfect. When it came to the food, everything was. Truly. The waiter knew the menu like it was engraved in his heart and when I finally decided on the ‘Chocolate plate’ for dessert, they demonstrated their own version of customer service and boy they did good. They did great.
As you can see in my previous post, the beautifully written Happy Birthday along with a candle, wasn’t the only great moment. Our lovely waiter for the evening took a picture of my OH and I on a nifty little camera, and after deliberating as to whether to ask or not to have a copy, out came a card handwritten from the team at Oxo, along with a fridge magnet with our picture. That extra touch, has meant that what was a great experience has only become a memory I will now forever cherish.
2. Make your customer feel like they are the only person you are there to serve.
Example: A lovely waiter in an Italian restaurant in Kingston, was amazingly attentive to our entire group of diners, helping us in choosing our wine, displaying what seemed like true enthuasiasm over each dish that he described and made us feel like the restaurant was our private haven. Before you ask, no it wasn’t Five star, it was a small family run eatery that has had my ongoing custom since that fatefully awesome dinner!
3. If a customer is asking you a question that you don’t know the answer to, don’t just shrug it off and fob them off, deal with it by asking someone else who could help,but don’t snigger/snarl/act indifferent to the issue.
Example: I’ve been in many a store, asking a question, almost feeling too nervous to ask it because the staff are too busy gossiping to see that I need help. When I finally ask the question, I have often been met with I’m sorry I don’t think we do that in this size, or I’m sorry I don’t know the answer. The correct reply would have been more along the lines of ‘I’m not too sure that we do that size, but let me check and if we don’t, I can see if we have anything else similar in style for you’. Similarly if you just don’t know, why would you be happy to be told that if the shoe was on the other foot? Find out if you can help that customer further.
4. Communicate clearly
Manage my expectations, especially in a telephone call. One of the worst ones had to be with Virgin media where they placed me on hold for roughly 20 minutes and then transferred me to the wrong department and had me talking to about 4 different people in the process. If that is really what it takes then I can handle that IF you are telling me upfront that it is going to happen.
5. Appreciate your customer
The single most best way, anyone has ever got my attention, is when they appreciate that I’ve taken the time out to come to this particular place and spend my money. It is not a given in this day and age where competition is more fierce than ever before. So if I’ve taken the time and trouble to come, and if I’ve thanked you for a great service/product, actually show your appreciation.
Example: A local restaurant that provides me with the Sushi hit I need every so often, honestly beats the likes of Nobu in the black cod department. I often leave reviews of restaurants I’ve been too, so that I can provide constructive criticism or outright praise. In this instance, I praised this small restaurant for providing a fantastic meal and great service. As a way of appreciation, Hashi didn’t reply directly via the website I had left my review on, no, they called me and they thanked me, they kept my details on file and when I ordered my takeaway recently, it came with lots of free starters and a handwritten thank you note.
That my friends, to me, IS customer service. So over to you – What would you add to make customer service amazing? Leave a comment below…