Thursday, April 18, 2013

How's Your Customer Service?

How's YOUR customer service?

It doesn't matter what you do; you are a service provider - which means you provide service to someone.  Whether it's a customer, client, or boss, we all serve someone.

As a teenager I worked in a clothing store and I had a manager who was ferociously committed to customer service. He cared little about our employees' employment backgrounds, but he cared tremendously about their temperaments and willingness to provide superior customer service.

He was a stickler for product knowledge. How can you sell anything without proper product knowledge? Well, that's not the case today, is it? With this manager it was. If you didn't greet guests (as he called those who patronized our store), address their needs, know what something was made of, where it came from, the best cleaning methods for it, whether or not it shrunk, how it fits, and what sizes we had in stock, you were fired.

I bought into his culture of customer service and product knowledge. As a result, I was quickly promoted to assistant manager. When I asked him what led to my promotion he said that customers promoted me. That's when he showed me a short customer service survey that he had our "guests" complete while being rung up at the register.

This pivotal experience helped me to realize that it was not about sales (though I had the top sales in my district) it was about placing focus - and doing - the things that inevitably lead to sales.

Product knowledge is beneficial, but a customer service mentality is crucial.

When I think about the professionals and companies that get tons of referrals they are the individuals and organizations who offer increased value through excellent customer service, which should be the goal for all service providers.

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