Customer service isn't always easy, but it doesn't have to be overly complicated. That's the gist of Shep Hyken's recent post over at retailcustomerexperience.com. Though it isn't always easy to do, Shep says making customers feel welcome and important is a matter of a few simple gestures.
What do you think it would take for your company to move from being a good company to a great company? Often it is just a little bit of extra effort by the employees who serve the customer.
The next time you walk into a store, pay attention to the greeting that you receive. Perhaps there is an employee at the register who sees you come in and gives you a little nod or a smile. How much more welcome does it make you feel, however, if the clerk comes out from behind the counter to ask, “Is there anything I can help you find today?”
Just as there are many ways to make a customer feel welcome, there are also ways that businesses can make customers feel unappreciated. Think back on experiences you have had dining in restaurants. Have you ever asked for a special order? Perhaps you are on a special diet or are allergic to a certain food. I ate at a restaurant once that included a prominent notice on its menu: “No substitutions.” Unfortunately, the entree that I ordered included green beans, which I happen to dislike. Instead of asking for another vegetable — a substitution — I simply requested that the green beans be left off my plate. The server said that the chef wouldn’t make any change to the predetermined meals, that he was too busy in the kitchen to fulfill any type of special request. In the end, my meal came with green beans, which I simply didn’t eat. It made me think, however, would it have been that difficult for the server to take care of my request, even if the chef wasn’t willing to do so? It would have taken only a small extra effort to make a customer happy.
The point is that it’s not always big problems or complaints that lead to the customer having a negative experience. Big problems can actually be easier to notice and have a more obvious solution, but sometimes if the little things are let go long enough, they begin to add up and the end result is a dissatisfied customer.
You should always be looking for little ways to show the customer that you care. Just as a few small negative things can add up to a bad customer experience, consistently making small positive efforts can have a great effect as well. Find ways to say yes instead of no. Honor special requests if at all possible and view them as opportunities to show how well you serve the customer.
I remember Zig Ziglar saying, “There’s no traffic jam on the extra mile.” Going the extra mile in customer service may not always be easy — but sometimes it is! Remember to look for small and simple ways to improve the customer experience. If you have a customer service mindset, is a pleasure to do for your customer.