How to Create Outstanding Customer Service
Posted by Eric Friedman
A lot of companies claim to be customer focused today. But what does that really mean? It entails going beyond the standard “the customer is always right” mentality, in order to exceed customer expectations. Being customer-focused today depends on providing outstanding customer service.
While a satisfied customer may return, he or she may also go elsewhere. How can you develop customer loyalty? You need to provide service that exceeds expectations and goes above and beyond what is required. It helps to think in terms of developing a relationship with customers by paying attention to what their needs are and what they may be in the future.
The foundation lies in training your customer service staff and developing a culture of respect and courtesy within your organization. You need to treat your staff and encourage them to treat one another with the same respect you expect them to give customers. It doesn’t stop with explaining what is expected, it’s also important to explain why positive interactions with customers are so important.
Give your call center employees more autonomy, so that they can speak in their own voice and make some decisions. This will translate to a better connection with customers.
Tony Hseih, founder of Zappos, (which uses eSkill for pre-employment skill assessment and employee training) focuses on the happiness of both employees and customers, with phenomenal results. Zappos employees go through an extensive training program, after which they are offered $2,000 to leave. This practice weeds out those who aren’t committed to investing themselves in the job.
Call Center personnel at Zappos are encouraged to be themselves, and are given a lot of autonomy. For example, a customer once called to say that she wanted to return some boots because her husband, who had ordered them, had died suddenly. The call center staff member sent flowers on behalf of Zappos, charging them to the company.
This kind of “above and beyond” customer service makes customers for life. Hseih’s focus on employee happiness has created a place where his employees want to come to work, and that kind of job satisfaction is reflected in the exceptional customer service Zappos provides.
Eric Friedman, founder and CEO of eSkill Corporation, a leading provider of Web-based skills testing for pre-employment and training, has always been a people person, and HR activities came naturally for him. Working with Human Resources from the beginning of his career, Eric has focused on developing new ways to help HR departments with recruiting and employee retention and training programs. This is how the eSkill Corporation was born.
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