Published on 08/12/2016 in Inspire
A purchasing decision is often a long, complicated process. There are obvious criteria, such as the functionality of a product or a service, or the value for money. Often, however, many other elements also play a role, elements that are less easy to pin down. Is the product immediately available in the store? Can the sales assistant in the store answer specific questions? Can the product be ordered on line? Is the estimated delivery time right? Can the customer bring the product back, send it back or exchange it if necessary? All these elements together determine the feeling that the customer experiences as ‘service’. The perception of service makes the ultimate difference.
Positive customer experience - that's the basis of your company's success. Moreover, via word-of-mouth advertising – think of the impact of social media – such experiences have a considerable impact on the flow of new customers. The basis of impeccable service lies with the staff of your company. To put it simply: there are no satisfied customers without satisfied staff. It is vitally important that all staff are permeated by the vision of your business. They have to understand that their input is essential for the success of the company. So recruiting the right staff is very important, as are instruction and training throughout their further career.
In the first place, this is a matter of the communication between the company and the staff: about the future vision and strategy, about products, about customers. At least as important is the communication among the staff. Smooth customer service is only possible when all departments and services are aware of one another's processes and procedures, and of the status of specific dossiers. The traditional islands within a company have to give way to a unified team where information flows freely, supported by tools that make cooperation easier. In the same way, of course, the company also has to communicate with customers, suppliers and other partners.
Above all, your staff will understand how they make a difference through excellent service when you challenge them to achieve concrete goals. This is still the best way to demonstrate the direct link between service and the success of the company. The goals can differ widely: from a certain sales volume to the number of positive reviews on the website or the average speed with which the helpdesk resolves an issue. A framework with clear expectations makes it easier for the staff to understand how they contribute to the success.
And it can be even more direct: by giving the customer the last word. Honest feedback from customers – for instance through a survey – enables you to respond to certain wishes on a very targeted basis. What is more, you not only gather useful information that you can use to improve the level of your service provision. You also involve the customers more closely in the company, which ultimately heightens their appreciation of your service.