Guest Column: Fall 2016
By Russ Dantu
The lost art of customer service
By Russ Dantu
Is it just me or does customer service seem to be a lost art in many businesses?
Depending on which survey you read, approximately 90 per cent of businesses will not make it to their fifth anniversary. They will close their doors. Cease to exist. Kaput. And even the strongest water pump won’t get them flowing smoothly again!
Why? Well, there can be many reasons for a business to go under, from a lack of marketing to ineffective salespeople to poor customer service. I’m a huge believer that customer service will make or break your business.
Think about it: have you ever seen a business fail that consistently gave exceptional customer service? I’d love to hear from you if you have. More often than not, the problem is a combination of poor service and increased competition.
You owe it to yourself, your employees and your customers to make sure your customer service exceeds your customers’ expectations and blows your competition out of the water.
By following these three customer service nuggets, your business will have a decisive advantage over most of your competitors and you will enlist raving fans who will not only continue to shop with you but also recommend you whenever the opportunity arises:
1. DWYSYWD – This is a form of a palindrome (a word spelled the same whether you read it forward or backward). Simply put, “Do What You Say You Will Do.” It comes from a book called Leadership Excellence by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner.
How many times have you had a promise or commitment from a supplier (or family member) only to find they let you down by not following through on what they said they would do? How did that make you feel? Were you wary to trust them next time? By always doing what you say you will do, you will keep your customers (and family members) smiling. There is also the team version – Do What We Say We Will Do! Get your team on board with this and it will be smooth sailing!
2. Treat them how they want to be treated. Truly get to know your customers whenever you can. Find out as much as you can about them so you have a clear understanding of who they are, what they expect and how to keep them happy.
There is an old saying, known as the Golden Rule in many religions and cultures: “Treat people how you want to be treated.” When it comes to business dealings, I wholeheartedly disagree with it. If you know your customer base is largely a meat and potatoes type of crowd, would you serve them caviar and champagne at an open house just because you like caviar and champagne? Exactly! Get to know them and treat them as you think they would like to be treated: serve them burgers and fries or steak and potatoes.
3. Wow them. Pleasing your customers is about the experience they have every time they do business with you. You don’t have to have a barrel of monkeys, red carpet and fireworks shooting off to impress your customers. What you do need to do is to provide exceptional customer service every time they enter your place of business and every time you go on site or make service calls. Always be professional and punctual, provide more than they expect, and thank them.
Here’s a quick test you can conduct yourself. For the next week, whenever you make a purchase somewhere, notice if the business actually thanks you. What often happens is we purchase something and we say “thank you” to the seller or service provider and they say “uh-huh” or “you’re welcome.” Given that we’ve spent our hard-earned money with them, does this make sense?
While I have many more customer service tips, these three nuggets will get your business flowing in the right direction miles ahead of your competitors.Take care of yourselves and your customers!
Russ Dantu has been delivering workshops, seminars and keynote speeches on customer service for over 15 years. Russ has helped thousands of people increase their company’s overall health and taught them to not only survive but thrive. He recently presented at the 45th annual BCGWA convention in Kamloops, B.C. For more information or to hire Russ for your next event, visit www.russdantu.com or email him at email@example.com.