Every small business must take advantage of every strategy, tactic and tool that will help win the competitive game of business. And, customer service may be the ultimate strategy when it comes to winning customers, keeping customers and getting customers to buy more.
In researching his book, Amaze Every Customer Every Time, Shep Hyken, identified the following tools to build customer service excellence:I chose Ace Hardware as the ultimate role model when it comes to delivering an amazing customer service experience.
- The Greeting – A strong welcome in essential. Be it on the phone or in person, this greeting makes your customer feel comfortable and appreciated. This “first impression” is an extremely important interaction as it sets the tone for whatever is to follow.
- The First Question – Follow up the greeting with an open ended question to understand the reason the customer is shopping with you. Specificity is the key. Don’t ask a yes or no question, such as “Can I help you?” This is a close-ended question that gives the customer the opportunity to say “No” to your offer to help, and more importantly, doesn’t give you the information that you need to know about how you can help them. Instead, ask an open-ended question such as, “What are you looking for today?” The best response will give you specific information about why the customer is doing business with you.
- Why – Once you understand what the customer wants, ask why. Why does the customer need your help or your product? For example, the customer may tell you he or she is looking for paint. You ask why or what for? In other words, what is the customer planning to paint? Knowing this may reveal other opportunities for you to help or upsell the customer.
- Upsell and Cross-Sell – Suggest other merchandise to the customer when it is appropriate. Back to the paint example above. If our customer is at the store buying a can of paint, it is perfectly reasonable, and appreciated by the customer, to ask if he or she needs brushes, rollers, painters tape, or other items to complete a paint project. Imagine the customer getting home and realizing that he forgot to buy brushes. Not “upselling” or “cross-selling” the customer when appropriate is actually bad customer service.
- Ask What Else – Don’t let the customer get away without asking what else the customer may be looking for – or what other area of help they may need. This may be something completely unrelated to the purchase they are about to make or the reason for their original call. This may reveal other opportunities to start the process all over again.“Thank you!” – Customers expect and want to be appreciated. A sincere “thank you” is a great way to end the experience. As important as the greeting is to the first impression, saying “thank you” is most important to creating a lasting impression.
Shep Hyken, is the Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations. For more information about his upcoming book, Amaze Every Customer Every Time: 52 Tools for Delivering the Most Amazing Customer Service on the Planet, go to www.AmazeEveryCustomer.com.