The world of business is huge, competitive, and faster than ever. But there are some base values that never get old, and don’t cost you anything—great service that goes above and beyond will always help you bring in and retain customers. When it comes to customer service, says Grant Cardone, always remember that “more is better.”
Regardless of what your job title is, you’re either selling someone on why they should continue to do business with your company or why they should not. Trust me, if you interact with customers, you’re also in the sales department. If you deal with people in any way, shape or form, you need good customer service. ‘Good’ is not good enough, you must exceed your customer’s expectations and deliver outstanding customer service. I control the service—not the customer. Don’t delegate it to someone else. Give excellent customer service before the sale, during the sale, and after the sale. See service as an opportunity.
Here are three ways you can do better:
#1. Phone—When I do customer service evaluations of companies, the first thing I do before getting on a plane and flying across the country to visit them is to get on the phone and call them. I’ll find out all I need to know about their customer satisfaction by the way they answer the telephone and the attitude they have when they answer—if they even answer the phone.
Look, here’s the facts: 92 per cent of customer interactions take place over the phone. People pick up the phone and call as part of the product or service research stage. A huge number of people, no matter how much information you give them, will still need assistance to figure out how to actually buy your product or service.
Of these interactions, 85 per cent report being dissatisfied with their over-the-phone experience. This is a monster opportunity, if you can solve it. Another thing to note is that one of the best ways to train customer satisfaction is over the phone, even if you don’t have phones—because if you can communicate and control an experience over the phone, you can certainly do it in person. You start listening for tones and inflections and become aware of different grades of satisfaction by listening on the phone.
Another thing to note: 46 per cent of customers prefer to talk to customer service on the phone about complicated issues. When an issue becomes complicated and people want to solve it, they want to talk to a person. Understand that the customer is using the phone to save time and resolve problems. They couldn’t resolve the problem on their own, so now they try and reach out to somebody that will.
You should be conscious of the fact that the customer took the time, despite all the technology that exists, to pick up the phone and call you. They must be frustrated. Or they took the time to call you to get information. You must give this person the information or service they need.
It’s critical you provide unbelievable service, great attitude, a solution-based, reassuring attitude even though the customer is at a distance over the phone. Even though they can’t see you they can feel you. So, no matter how many calls you take today, whether it is 10 calls or 100 calls, remember that for the customer they are making just one call and the only people they care about is themselves.
Keep in mind this person is reaching out to you either for service or to solve a problem or for more information. Your attitude must be that of service: “I care about you,” “thank you for calling,” “I want to solve your problem,” “I’m sorry you couldn’t do it on your own,” “it’s our job to solve this.”
“Quit telling yourself that you don’t want to pressure or bother them. That is the last thing on the list of customer service complaints.”
#2. In Person—More than half of the customers who come to your company intend to make a purchase, but back out due to poor service. I remember going with my wife to a store at 8:59 a.m. and the store was supposed to open at 9. We were more interested in buying something than were the employees showing up late were interested in selling anything. It’s unbelievable that people come to a store intending to buy, and 55 per cent leave due to poor service. The expectations of 84 per cent of customers have not been exceeded, and 57 per cent say that they will never use the company again due to the experience—these are from in-store visits.
The takeaway is, when someone visits your company you must assume they are no longer shopping and they are there to purchase. Your ability to make the customer feel genuinely different—to feel unique, appreciated, and welcomed, is going to have a lot to do with whether or not you actually make this person a customer.
If you’ve ever been to a beach or vacation town and you go to a shop at 3 p.m., where there are thousands of people coming through every day, and you walk in to a place that has been open since 9 a.m. and sometimes they don’t even look at you. Stop in at your local gas station—literally, the bell rings—and nobody even looks up. Sometimes I walk in and want to buy something and nobody can even say, “Thanks for coming in.” I walk into department after department of major retailers with huge companies and 60,000 products in huge facilities, and nobody even says hello.
Be in a hurry to help. Be urgent to serve. Laziness and being aloof communicates to the buyer that you’re not interested. Quit telling yourself that you don’t want to pressure or bother them. That is the last thing on the list of customer service complaints.
#3. The Web—Thirty-eight per cent of your customers would prefer to talk to you online or via email about simple issues. I know for me, sometimes I just want to do it online. I don’t want to talk to people, engage, or call anyone, I just want to go online and search and find information, make my decision and move on. According to Harvard Business Review, 57 per cent of customers switch from the web to phone due to an issue on the web. At my company, we constantly give attention to our website.
What if someone hits your website, becomes interested—they move from research to interest to wanting to negotiate something, or they have some more questions that aren’t answered on your website? Now they want to talk to someone. You need to have your phone number on the website. In this age of technology, more and more people are willing to manage their relationships with a company via the web.
Another statistic it is important to note is that 83 per cent of customers want and need online support to make a purchase. Whether they are buying Disney tickets or products to consume, consumers want to be able to talk to someone. If you make it difficult, the customer will get frustrated. If they get frustrated, they get angry—and you lose the sale. People typically use the web out of convenience. Often the customer wants to avoid confrontation or to hide. Maybe they are introverted. Or service at companies is so atrocious when human beings get involved, customers would rather be disappointed by the internet than drive across town, get out of their car, walk in and be disappointed.
There are opportunities for you to be different in the marketplace. Three quick tips:
- Speed—You want to be fast and respond quickly to people. Speed is everything today—you must be fast.
- Don’t rely only on the web—more is better with customer service. Even though you might have just sent them an email giving them the information, if you can, get their phone number and call to say, “I wanted to make sure you got the information I emailed you.” The more the better. If you are using live chat, nobody cares about what your name is—people want information. “What can I get you information on?” or “Hi, how can I help you?”
3.Offer updates—Do this while you’re finding solutions. Tell them how long you think it might be, and offer to call them back as soon as you have a solution.
The web is big and it will keep getting bigger but here is what will never go away—customers and the customer experience. Customers want a great experience. Raise your awareness and have the intention to be great at customer service. You’ll be able to grow your company—or grow your position within your company—by giving excellent customer service. Whether it’s by the phone, in-person, or on the web, you need to be great at all three.
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