A lot has been written about customer service and how to improve it; be polite, care, listen, talk to your customers, surprise them, respond to complaints, collect data and the list keeps on going. At first, these tips seem simple; it is almost common sense but applying it to your company is another challenge as customer service encompasses almost all aspects of your business. Furthermore, technology brings more opportunities to improve customer services and with them even more challenges and confusion.
Customer Service & Technology
Below is a perfect example of how far customer service can go with the use of technology.
But not many companies will be able to implement such strategy so what can we all do to improve our customer's experiences?
Customer Service: The customer's viewpoint
A blog called verybestservice.blogspot.com.au has created a recipe for the best customer service from the customer's viewpoint. The most important ingredients are:
- Delivering Results (This is when everything goes as planned)
- Being Helpful (this is about attitude)
- Speed (They want a solution but they want it quickly)
- Learning (Acting upon the listening)
- Experiences and skilled staff
We all know these ingredients but the challenge is to put them together to cook the perfect customer service. Now we know what is important to customers so who is in charge of shopping for the ingredients?
Customer Service & The Management Team
According to Richard Branson the founder of Virgin Group, customer service start at the top. It's the ripple effect, if management doesn't care, neither will the workers.
The first advice to draw from his experience is:
1 - Create an environment where workers love to work and shoppers will love to shop
He also adds "your employees are your biggest assets" and the features of your product might attract customers but "it is the quality of the interaction they have with your people that encourages them to return." At Virgin, employees have the freedom to use their imagination to solve problems, they even have a saying for it: "It is better to ask forgiveness rather than permission".
This strategy enables the customer service team to fulfill the most important need of customers, being helpful, quickly. So the second advice is:
2 - Empower your employee to make every experience great
If you break down the advice a little more, it goes:
- Hire people with the right attitude, the one that see the glass half full
- Hire people who want to work in retail
- Teach them the basics
- Let them uses their creativity to solve problems, let them take initiative
His last advice:
3 - Have fun, so your employees have fun and your customers will feel it.
SI Retail is a family-owned business and just like a family we support each other. For our birthdays, we have fun morning teas with cakes and the iconic but embarrassing birthday song. But family is not only here for special occasions; we support each other and work as a team every day.
For us employees, it means great workplace and results. For you client, it means excellent customer service and a sale team who understands your needs and is able to meet your requirements.
We would like you to meet Ernie Artango, 16 years with SI Retail. Ernie works in the warehouse and he is in charge of quality control, making sure that you receive the right product and in perfect conditions. He is also the warehouse handy man, getting all kind of jobs done. Ernie likes working at SI Retail because it is never boring and the work culture is great "At the warehouse, we are always busy but people are supportive and open so when there is a problem we work together to solve it." Ernie
He describes himself as a full time family man - with 4 girls aged 16 to 20 years old, you can understand why! He is a quiet person but once on the dance floor, he is an unexpectedly good dancer, bogging away on Stevie Wonder, you would be surprised.
Another thing you may not know about Ernie is that he was a professional fighter - 23 Fights, 17 Wins, 3 Losses and 1 Draw - 138 Amateur career fights - 117 Wins. He ranked #1 in the International Boxing Federation and #3 in the World Boxing Council in 1999. Impressive aye, but no worries, he is retired now.