There are six essential factors in providing a high level of customer care and if any one of them is absent it can lead to a poor level of service being offered. These are: – Job craft – Your staff must have the knowledge and skills to perform the job to the best of their ability at all times. People handling skills – Your staff must have the ability to communicate and be able to relate to your customers in a way, which is no way detrimental to your organisation. Positive attitude – Your staff must have the desire to fulfil the organisation policy and satisfy or even exceed the expectations expected from your customers.
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Procedures – Yours staff must be familiar with company procedures to ensure a smooth and predictable sequence of events. It is important for any information passed between departments is correct so everyone can do their job and feel happy in their workplace. Communication and teamwork – Ensuring that your staff can show action and behaviour that enables your staff to achieve more as a team.
Continual learning – Firstly training has to be updated to allow new members of staff to be trained to an excellent standard and secondly, show persistent innovation to continually improve the total offering to you customers. I would recommend that your staff be trained all together at the same time and deliver my training based mainly on previously mentioned six points. I feel it is important for all members of staff from the very top down be present at this initial training so that all staff can contribute to the training and feel involved with management to some degree. Further training will then be delivered to yourself and your sales manager so that you both are in a position to deliver further training and monitor ongoing training on a continual basis.
The use of questionnaires and face to face communication will give your organisation the information needed to measure more accurately the wants, needs and expectations of your customers, allowing your organisation to be successful and allow it to develop and grow within the ever changing social climate.
Telephone research could also be carried out. Your delivery arrangements are made at time of purchase. Do you ever phone your customers after delivery, or do you just handle the complaints made about deliveries. I would recommend your staff follow up deliveries by phoning the customer and ascertain whether the service provided by yourselves was of a high, professional standard. This will give you a very good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses.
Also your organisation can enrol your staff in a local Further Education College that offer a SVQ in Customer Care. With your company meeting the cost of this your staff will feel better in their job, and feel more secure and special within your organisation
Like any relationship, good customer rapport requires “care and feeding”. Customers make or break a business and establishing a good rapport has been shown to be the most effective way to retain customers. As a bonus, numerous studies have shown that satisfied customers tell others who in turn become new customers. The word-of-mouth strategy for new customers has been also shown to be the most cost-effective method for obtaining new business.
Often customer relationships can expose a competitive weakness that is far greater than weaknesses in pricing, location or marketing. We have all seen instances where the customer keeps coming back because of the relationship even though the competition may have a superior product or service. Why? Because the customer feels more comfortable and assured! The key is to make the customer relationship foremost in the organisations culture. Organisations become successful when relationships take precedence over sales. Organisations become successful when they place a higher priority on the customer than they do on cash flow, operations or internal problems. When your employees take the time and effort to nurture a relationship they are building a valuable company asset.
Customers need to fell the rapport is sincere – we all have built in “phoniness” detectors. Simply giving lip service and a forced smile are not enough. Your customers want to heard, they want their needs addressed and they want value. Right, wrong or otherwise the customer’s perception determines the sale. However, customer service and relationships cannot be forced upon your employees. They must understand and feel motivated to develop customer rapport.
Management sets the agenda and is ultimately responsible for the result. The easiest way for management to set the agenda is to set the example. Answering the phone, dealing with an irate customer, explaining patiently to a customer that does not understand – these are the things that managers can do. Show your people how to do it and they will understand the importance. There is no magic formula to establishing good customer rapport and it is very hard work, but if your organisation depends on repeat business you should focus on customer rapport before your competitors do!