Exceptional customer service is when a company exceeds a customer’s expectations. Ultimately people will tell others about the good experience they had with the company and more people will bring their business. Exceeding a customer’s expectation could be as little as a caring voice or prompt solutions to problems.
We pride ourselves on having exceptional customer service skills. Having personally worked customer service for nearly 30 years, i feel real sorry for any customer service rep that handles any issue that I have, as I know what to expect. Seriously, to my mind, exceptional means giving MORE than the customer expects (or in many cases deserves!)
1. We respond to the customer in a professional & timely manner and are courteous. The customer needs to feel as if they are our only customer and the issue that they have is our issue too.
2. We make the customer feel that we are doing everything in our power to resolve their problem as quickly as possible, and that the fix will be a permanent fix, not a work-around until something else is done.
3. We keep the customer up to date on the progress on resolving their issue. If it takes longer than a day to resolve, we call them and give them a status update on their issue.
4. We are not satisfied until the customer is satisfied.
Just Doing Our Job Vs. Delivering Exceptional Service
Nothing is wrong with “just doing our job.” In many cases, that alone is a tall order. So, while doing what we were contracted to do is nothing to be ashamed of, it is also not exceptional — nor will it set us apart. There will always be other companies that will be able to do the work as well as we can — and there will certainly be someone willing to do it cheaper! The service we provide is how you can truly differentiate us.
Exceptional client service is about going beyond what is realistically expected of us. It is about surprising, and often delighting, customers, turning them into enthusiastic referral sources and lifelong clients who stick with us not only because we do great work at a fair price, but because the value we bring to them goes far beyond just our products.
Asking Real Questions
When I give this advice to others, it is often met with some apprehension. Asking someone about their business goals is easy. Asking them about their life outside of the office is harder. We often avoid getting personal for fear of offending the person or saying the wrong thing; but by being overly cautious, we miss the chance to create a real relationship.
Whenever I get nervous about getting too personal with a client, I remind myself of a story. A few years ago, I had the privilege to work on a stairway lift for an elderly couple in Kentfield, Ca. During the service, the homeowner came out in his wheelchair to talk to me. After our conversation, he proceeded to re-enter his home, fell back and cracked his head open on the porch. I immediately attempted to call 911 on my cell phone only to be connected to a recording with the CHP. Staying calm and thinking quickly, I entered the home to call from a landline. I grabbed a dish towel and the first phone (which was cordless), attempted to call for help and proceed to apply the dish towel to his head to stop the bleeding. Again foiled by excessive static on the line, I called our office on my cell phone for them to call for help. Shortly after that, the Kentfield PD arrived, shortly followed by the Paramedics.
On my next service with this client, I sat down with the wife, Cathy. I began the conversation simply by asking her, “How is Bill doing today?”
Cathy smiled and answered that Bill was doing well.
Face The Bad Times Head On
Sometimes we have to share bad news with a client. If we waited and sent an email at 5:15 pm on a Friday rather than pick up the phone to discuss the issue, we may have bought ourselves a few more days before having to face the client’s worried questions, but we also damage the relationship by hiding behind an email. It also means that the client will read the bad news first thing on Monday morning; definitely not a good start to their week, and definitely not the way to treat a valued relationship.
Here’s a secret: clients do not expect us to be perfect. They do, however, expect us to be honest. When something goes wrong, we let them know quickly so that they are not blindsided by the issue later on. And we never deliver bad news by email. Picking up the phone to discuss the news lets us reassure the client and answer any questions they may have. An after-hours email certainly won’t do that for them.
If the matter is handled correctly, the client will not remember that something went wrong. They will remember that we were honest and kept them apprised of the state of the project, even when it did not go according to plan.
We are in the business of customer service and extend every means possible to cater to our customers’ needs.
Contact us today for more information or a service appointment for your lift at (800) 201-1212.