Creating diverse principles of customer service is very important, but you need to put those principles into action with everything you do and say. There are certain “words” customers want to hear from you and your staff. All your employees need to recognize the significance of these simple key phrases that will make your new and existing customers trust you.
• “How can I help?” Customers often want the chance to clarify in detail what they want and need. Too often, business owners feel the desire or the compulsion to guess what customers need rather than carefully listening first. By asking how you can help, you begin the conversation on a positive note (you are “helping,” not “selling”). And by using an open-ended question, you invite discussion.
• “I can solve that problem.” Most customers, especially business-to-business customers, are looking to buy solutions to a problem that they have. They appreciate direct answers in a language they can easily relate to.
• “I will keep you posted.” Even if your business is a cash-and-carry operation, it probably involves scheduling and managing numerous events. Assure your customers they will be advised of the status of these events. The longer you lead time, the more important this is. The vendor’s customers trust the most are those that keep them apprised of the situation, whether the news is good or bad.
• “I don’t know for sure, but I’ll find out.” When confronted with a truly difficult query that requires research on your part, admit that you don’t know the exact answer to it. Few things ruin your credibility faster than trying to answer a question when you are uncertain of all the facts. Savvy buyers will often test you with a question they know you can’t answer and then just sit quietly while you struggle to fake an intelligent reply. An honest answer enhances your integrity.
• “I will take responsibility.” Tell your customer you realize it’s your responsibility to ensure a pleasing outcome to the transaction. Assure the customer you know what he or she anticipate and will deliver the product or service at the agreed-upon price. There will be no astonishing changes or expenses required to solve the problem.
• “I will deliver on time.” When a due date has already be agreed upon, it is a promise that must be kept. “Sorry don’t work during public holidays” doesn’t count.
• “Monday means Monday.” The last week in December means the last week in December, even though it contains a national holiday. Your clients are waiting to hear you say “I deliver on time.” The supplier who consistently does so is a rarity and will be remembered.
• “It’ll be just what you ordered.” It will not be “similar to,” and it will not be “better than” what was ordered. It will be exactly what was ordered. Even if you believe a replacement product would be in the client’s best interest that is still not something that you should just decide yourself. Your customer may not know the ramifications of the purchase.
• “The job will be complete.” Always assure the customer that there will be no waiting time for a final piece or a last document. Never say you are finished “except for….”
• “I appreciate your business.” This means more than a simple “Thanks for the order.” Genuine appreciation involves follow-up calls, offering to answer questions, making sure everything is performing satisfactorily, and ascertaining that the original problem has been solved.
Neglecting any of these steps conveys the impression that you were interested in the person only until the sale was made and you got some cash out of your client. This leaves the buyer feeling deceived and used, and creates ill will and negative advertising for your company. Sincerely proving you care about your customers leads to recommendations and repeat sales.