1. Who You Hire Matters.
Make sure you hire individuals with the right personalities (and not just the right skill) to ensure consumers are happy and well served. The California-based salon chain Drybar, for example, only hires employees who are focused on providing friendly, caring customer service. The co-founder Michael Landau says the company actively avoids hiring “diva’s who can sour the customer experience and company culture”.
The first step Drybar takes with all of their employees is training them to never greet a customer with the question, “Do you have an appointment?” Landau says, “We want our customers to be treated like they’re our best friends coming over to our house.”
2. Make Employees Consumer Service Focused.
Once you hire the right people, they must receive extensive and effective training on how to best serve their consumers. This training should mix product and service knowledge so employees can answer any possible questions, work together effectively and handle real-life situations properly. If an angry customer comes into store or an individuals wants to return a defective product they purchased, your employees need to know how to handle this in a way that will leave consumers satisfied.
3. Training Is Not A One-Time Thing.
Most often, employee training is limited to the first few days or first few weeks on the job. Yet companies who are known for having exceptional customer service ensure that training is an on-going, continuous process to embed strong customer service in its culture.
For example, the company Rackspace hosts multiple and varied training programs for its employees that provide certification for many different key skills that its employees may need. One program called “Manager Detox” works to train newly promoted managers about leadership and motivation skills.
4. Build A Culture of Service.
In order for an organization or company to stand apart from their competition, they must ingrain a culture of customer service throughout every department and level. From the sales associates to the IT department, every employees needs to understand and embody the company’s consumer service culture.
Shep Hyken, a customer service consultant and speaker, believes all “great customer service starts at the top, with the leader defining what the service will be.” Hyken goes on to argue that CEO’s, “have to define it, disseminate it, deploy it through training, demonstrate it through your own actions, defend it and celebrate it.”
5. Create a Wonderful Customer Experience.
While most companies remain focused on their bottom line, they often overlook the effects of their policies have on their customer experience. A great example of this is free shipping. Countless surveys have shown us that consumers greatly appreciate free shipping when making online purchases. Many individuals will abandon the items in their shopping cart when an unsatisfactory shipping fee appears. Yet even with such glaring evidence, numerous online retailers continue to charge for shipping.
Micah Solomon, a customer service consultant, believes Apple is an admirable example for creating the ultimate customer experience. The tech enterprise has done extensive research on what consumers like/dislike about shopping and has committed time and resources to address those issues. For example, customers can schedule appointments with at the Genius Bar in Apple retail stores to avoid waiting for the next available clerk or can receive an email copy of their sales receipt to speed up the checkout process.
6. Know the Worth of Your Employees & Treat Them Well.
While it is important to treat your consumers like gold, it is just as important to treat your employees like gold. The most successful companies recognize that they need satisfied employees to have satisfied customers.
Research Company Gallup’s chief scientist of marketplace management John Fleming says, “In almost any company, employees who aren’t customer-facing play a quality-and-support role…one of the critical elements for every worker is a direct line of sight to the customers and how their work affects customers.”
An example of a company nailing this tip is Southwest Airlines. Year after year the corporation is named one of the best places to work and for having the best customer service in the airline industry. The two awards are not a coincidence. The company is famous for providing great employee benefits, from free flights to fun activities like chili cook-offs and volunteer days.
Non-profit organizations everywhere can look at how these companies do it right and apply these tips to their own organizations to give donors the best possible experiences.