Many organizations tackle the issue of customer service by just telling  their employees to smile.

Be polite. Never lose your cool. But isn’t that a little like closing the  barn door after the horses have gotten out?

Good customer service should be about a good customer  experience with your product. This begins with the relationship  your company cultivates with a customer.

Customer Service Is More Than Just Being Nice image customer service team skills1

This relationship will be tested by the entire process of the buyer seller  relationship.

1. The images and promises of the marketing campaign

People begin to form opinions of your company and products from the messages  they receive before they even purchase your product. Often, they receive these  images before they have even thought of buying. Will your images match the  experience?

2. The ease of ordering/purchasing the product

Once someone has decided to purchase your products or services, how easy do  you make it for them to do so. Is there someone to answer the phones or will  they get a voice mail message? Actually, many companies lose sales in this way.  Some people, who want to act now, will simply hang up and go on to the next  company that will answer their call.

Also, many leads are not followed up A message is left but no one gets back.  When the buyer does reach you, are your systems in place to make the purchasing  process as simple as possible? Buyers want to feel that they’ve made the right  decision in choosing your product. By creating an easy process for ordering, you  help them feel confident in their decision.

3. How well does the product live up to the expectations of the  marketing?

Your customer now has your product in his possession. Will it live up to any  hype used in the marketing  campaign? Or will there be a letdown when the actual product does not match the  expectations? Marketing is a powerful force. It will create expectations that  must be fulfilled by the product. When it doesn’t, it can create customer  satisfaction problems. Make sure your product matches expectations.

4. How well will the product live up to the expectations of the  customer?

In addition to the marketing message, a customer usually forms his own  expectations based on past experiences with similar products, observations and  conversations with others. Will this add to the experience or create a letdown?  Product must match expectations or exceed them. Anything less will create a  potential customer service problem.

5. When something goes wrong, how is it fixed?

Do you acknowledge that problems can happen? Have you decided how to satisfy  customers? Have you looked at the financial ramifications of your solutions?  Better yet, look at the product itself. If you find many customers with similar  products, perhaps it is most appropriate to address weaknesses in the product  itself.

6. What are the procedures?

Even with the best of products, problems can occur. It’s best to address  these issues beforehand. Decide what processes will be used to satisfy your  customers. Think about replacement and its cost, discounts, etc. If you are  going to replace a product, how quickly can you get it to someone? As a  replacement, it must take precedence over new orders.

Jo Ann Kirby, President of KRG Communications Group, has 20 years experience  in sales, cusotmer service, telephone sales, management with an extensive  background in training and development. Her background also includes extensive  B2B telesales management experience. Jo Ann has been published in The  Toastmaster, NAPPS Network and Commerce magazines. Jo Ann says:

Customers will tell more people when they’ve had a bad experience then when  they’ve had a good experience. Solving customer problems not only affects that  specific customer but many other people as well.

-Jo Ann Kirby, President of KRG Communications Group http://www.krgcommunications.com

7. Can your organization be easily reached or is the process frustration to  most?

Everyone has frustrating stories to tell about voice prompts that go nowhere.  They don’t cover your problem and they continually loop back into the system  without a way to speak to a live operator. Make it easy for people to speak with  someone. Test your systems thoroughly. Automation can be a great help and a cost  saver for organizations but it must be used judiciously.

8. Can the customer service rep actually help?

Customer services reps must be empowered to solve problems. They must be able  to do more than empathize and smile. Nothing is more frustration than a nice  customer service rep that is unable to resolve your problem. Give your staff the  appropriate information and training. Let them have responsibility and  accountability for their actions. Employees tend to rise to the level that is  expected of them.

Good customer service requires an ongoing examination of methods.

Making these suggestions part of your daily customer experience management  routine will start the thought process necessary to truly deliver world class  service.

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Author: Flavio  Martins     Flavio Martins on the Web Flavio Martins on  Facebook Flavio Martins on Twitter Flavio Martins  on LinkedIn Flavio  Martins RSS Feed

Flavio Martins is the VP of Customer Support at DigiCert,  Inc., and leader of an award winning global customer service team. As  a customer service blogger, and customer service fanatic, he’s on a mission to  show that excellent service can be consistent, simple, and easy. Blog: Win the  Customer! View full profile