If you put the customer in the spotlight, your efforts will pay off.
By Alexandra Harris
Learning how to make customers feel important by delivering consistently high quality customer service is key for every business.
Let me share some of the tips I’m offering in classes I’m teaching as part the Red Carpet Customer Service Training and Certification program that is be- ing offered through FloridaWorks, Santa Fe College’s Center for Innovation and Economic Development, the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and Innovation Gainesville.
1. Play it big, taking on the attitude that, “I enjoy giving more than expected.” Create a welcoming atmosphere for your customers and put them in the spotlight. Greet customers as they enter the room. Make eye contact and smile. Use courteous phrases. Listen as they speak, and do not complain about your company or personal problems.
2. Give customers the attention to which they are enti- tled. Take notes. Rephrase what the customer just told you. Take accurate orders the first time. Listen careful- ly to the customer’s problems and try to solve them.
3. Give visitors priority. If you’re on the phone while a visitor walks in, give the person who made the ef- fort to show up in person priority. Redirect the caller and wait for their agreement. Acknowledge the visitor and tell him or her that you’ll be a moment. If you’re talking to a customer in person when the phone rings, then someone else should answer the phone, or you should let the call go to voicemail.
4. Convey professionalism in your emails. Check your tone. Responses that are too short and abrupt may give the impression that you’re too busy for the other person. Don’t use email to comment on hot topics such as politics or religion. Only forward jokes to close friends. Assume your message may be forwarded. Email messages are legally property of your company.
5. Look for first-class ways to help others. You can turn frustrated customers into fans by:
• Exuding calmness
• Treating complaints as feedback
• Listening carefully
• Repeating what the customer said
• Showing that you understand how the customeris feeling
• Fixing the problem
6. Treat your coworkers like customers. I suggest the memory device HOPE, which stands for “Help Other People Excel.” You can encourage your associates by pointing out their strengths to them. Keep all agreements you make with them. Commit to not “bad mouth” your teammates. Support your leaders by creating solutions instead of complaining and under- mining them.
7. Take on the attitude that, “I feel like a millionaire, and I give ‘million-dollar’ service.”
8. The most vital part of customer service is taking care of yourself. Nurture yourself every day. You’re not “selfish;” you’re being “self-interested.” When you nurture yourself, you give everyone a better impression of who you are.
More information about the Red Carpet program is available at http://www.floridaworksonline.com/em- ployers/red-carpet-customer-service
To bring the three-hour Red Carpet training class to your workplace, contact Lisa Gagne at (352) 395-5897 or firstname.lastname@example.org