Whether your business is part of a large franchise or you run it yourself, providing good customer service is critical.
"I can't tell you how many times I've stopped patronizing a store or service provider because of horrendous customer service," says Shakira Brown, a marketing consultant with Branding4Newbies.com.
While customer service is key to showing prospective and current customers how seriously you take their business, the etiquette and expectations for service calls - an important component of customer service - is often neglected.
Here are some pointers you and your employees can use to improve the service call experience for customers.
If you are on a service call, be on your best behavior, Brown says. "Make sure you announce yourself before beginning work by ringing the door bell. Then thoroughly go over the reason for the service call, identifying other issues that can be addressed that day." In addition, Brown recommends asking for permission to enter different rooms in a customer's home and also suggests letting the customer know when you are about to leave. "All these areas are important to the overall customer service experience," Brown says.
While proper etiquette is a crucial component of service calls, another important element is effective and efficient communication. "Are you responding to your customers quickly?" asks Brown. If your answer is 'no,' then perhaps you stand the risk of customers or past customers viewing your company in a negative light. "You must be responsive to new and existing business inquiries to maintain a good reputation," says Brown.
One way to respond to customers quickly is the phone. Unfortunately, phone call etiquette is another neglected component of customer service.
If you or your employees use phones to respond to customers make sure the people who answer phones are informed about your company and know how to work your phone system.
According to Brown, "It's easy to deter new customers if their calls are dropped. Every employee should have access to phone directories, instructions on using your telephone system and how to greet callers and guests."
Doing good work, dressing professionally and being courteous are all important, but an underemphasized way to leave a lasting impression, according to Mitchell Gooze president of Customer Manufacturing Group, is leaving the customer's home as clean as when you arrived. This will "result in a 'wow' factor that the customer will talk about."
While surprising the customer is an effective way to improve the service call experience, you don't have to think outside the box to come up with other ways to keep customers satisfied. Here are some additional do's and don'ts for effective service calls.
Drew Stevens, author of Split Second Customer Service, offers these service call tips:
Kate Zabriskie, whose company Business Training Works, Inc., specializes in etiquette and customer service training, suggests: