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Show Your Customers You Care

I recently went to a major computer/electronics store to buy an expensive software package. I felt good that I was able to find the software at a substantial discount. But by the time I was through paying for my purchase I never wanted to come back to the store again.

What happened?

What is happening in many organizations in these economics times? They invest more money to bring in the best products, create great store displays, and bring in the best computer systems to manage inventory and process orders. But they invest little time or money making sure that the customer has an enjoyable experience at the 'moment of truth.' Plenty of 'high-tech,' not much 'high-touch.'

What happened while checking out was that the cashier was so indifferent to my existence that I could have been Osama Bin Laden and she still wouldn't have noticed. No eye contact, bad body language, no interaction with me besides saying '$312.64, credit card or cash?' Have you ever experienced this before?

The Forum Corporation did a survey where they asked people why they stop doing business with a company. Sixty-eight percent said they left because of the indifference by the organization they were doing business with.

How much money are you losing because of indifference by your employees? Or a better question, how many customers or how much money can you afford to lose in these competitive times? Not one I hope. But it happens everyday.

How do you stop this title wave of customers from leaving your organization? Whether you are a manager, an employee or an owner of an organization that deals with customers (and who doesn't) in person or over the telephone here are three 'common-sense' customer service techniques that will grow your customer base:

1. Implement a 'common-sense' customer service policy from the top down.
Develop a mission statement that clearly explains how to treat customers, how customers should feel dealing with your organization, and what the organization will do to guarantee an enjoyable experience for the customer. Very important, involve all employees in the defining process to come up with ideas, challenges to the mission, and what they will do to guarantee success of the mission. This way everyone takes 'ownership' in the solution.

2. Support Your Mission with Effective Training.
It's not enough to create a mission statement that sits in the darkest regions of the organization. Provide ongoing training so that 'common-sense' customer service becomes a part of the mission statement and your organization gives the customer an outstanding customer experience. In my situation at the store, that was a situation that would have never happened if the cashier had the correct training on how to interact with the customer. Also discuss the mission statement at staff and employee meetings and coachings. If you have the option, videotape your employees interacting with your customers.

3. Motivate for More of the Same.
Make every effort to 'catch' your employees or co-workers doing something good. This means at the earliest moment you see or hear about anyone in your organization, make sure you reward or acknowledge him or her for their efforts. Preferably in public. This could be a 'great job' sticker, a discount coupon to a restaurant or store or a simple 'thank-you for a job well done.' Remember, the key is to reward individuals as soon as possible after the action you want to see.

These are three 'common-sense' customer service ideas that you can implement today to keep your customers coming back and grow your business.

About the Author
Ed Sykes is a professional speaker, author, and success coach in the areas of leadership, motivation, stress management, customer service, and team building. You can e-mail him at mailto:esykes@thesykesgrp.com, or call him at (757) 427-7032. Go to his web site, http://www.thesykesgrp.com, and signup for the newsletter, OnPoint, and receive the free ebook, "Secrets, Stories, and Tips for Marvelous Customer Service."


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