“Focus on winning one customer at a time. Be honest and sincere. Do what’s right. There’s nothing magical about this. That’s been my guiding principle,” – Robert Spector
Every business enterprise has a primary duty to listen to its customers and understand their requirements. This should figure among the foremost customer service principles because a business that listens and understands is uniquely equipped to respond to changing customer preferences and thrive in a fluid business landscape. This implies that every corporate organization should drive a hard focus on the customer’s point of view and must work to accommodate the same in the daily operations of the organization. In addition, a keen ear for the customer’s desires can help a business to break new ground in terms of products and services, and thereby expand its business operations. Having said that, we note that the voice of the customer should receive top priority and must be shared among all echelons of the business enterprise.
Happy employees are an important aspect of the customer service principles which help to guide and operate a business. Every corporate entity should make the choice to create happy employees because these personnel face the customer on a day-to-day basis. Employees that enjoy high job satisfaction typically bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to business operations; these are, and will remain, priceless attributes that contribute significantly to the success of a business enterprise. Employee satisfaction and happiness can be engendered through thoughtful business practices that include adequate remuneration, optimised work processes, fair hiring practices, employee training and development modules, and generous annual bonuses and incentives. In addition, the ideal business enterprise should inculcate a sense of belonging and ownership in every employee. These actions help to inculcate a certain sense of pride in employees that translates into higher standards of customer service.
Customer service principles must be bred into the basic building blocks of a business organization. The enterprise should make an effort to drill high customer service standards into the minds of all employees. The management cadre should take the initiative to achieve this goal because every level of the organization and every designation seeks guidance from top management. We could say that the CXO level of officers have a duty to elevate every individual employee to a level, wherein excellent customer service becomes a personal motto. Therefore, this elite group should focus its energies to drive excellent customer service standards across the firm.
The modern business enterprise should invest significantly in measuring the efficacy of service delivery. This should count among the various customer service principles that can enlighten and guide modern businesses. Such efforts can help businesses to manage (and improve upon) the various metrics that are associated with excellence in service delivery. In this context, we must bear in mind that internal processes may have to be re-examined and re-engineered in the interest of consistently achieving higher service delivery standards. Consider this: an e-commerce firm is trying to attain higher precision in terms of delivering goods to all customers within the committed time lines. This is a herculean task considering the constant flow of orders and the limited resources that the enterprise can bring to bear on resolving a particular situation. One option to achieve higher precision is to engage additional modes of transporting the goods so that every customer has a better chance of receiving his product within the stated time. A different approach to the same problem lies in re-locating the firm’s warehouses in a bid to optimise delivery schedules. The top management of the firm needs to consider the various options on the table to arrive at a clear solution.
Businesses should remain wide open to the concept of issuing customer apologies in the aftermath of any unfortunate development. This implies that the business enterprise and its many stewards remain open to the idea of learning from mistakes. This attitude should be one of the guiding lights among customer service principles. We must bear in mind that a sincere apology helps to assure customers that the business has initiated remedial actions to correct past mistakes. For instance, a business that has shipped faulty electronic products to customers must make good by replacing the said gadgets. The replacements may be in the form of a full refund of the purchase price, or a product of equivalent value. In any case, the business is duty-bound to issue a note of apology to every affected customer. This action can help to control customer attrition and restore business confidence in the said enterprise. That said, we must note that the business should make it a point not to repeat the said lapse.
Bonus (or unexpected) products and services can be offered to customers after a sale has been closed. This action should be initiated by the business enterprise in the interest of achieving customer delight, and also as part of its customer service principles. This approach may encourage customers to take note of the particular business enterprise, and may encourage them to return to the business with repeat orders in the future. We could say that this tactic essentially wins over the customer and prevents any migration to the business competition. In addition, the customer may be thrilled to bits and can refer the business enterprise to his or her friends in social media platforms. By doing so, the customer is essentially providing the business with significant publicity that has the potential to multiply business volumes. Further, the surprise bonus provision may allow the enterprise to clear its inventory of slow moving merchandise. Therefore, when we consider the mentioned freebie, the business should consider the many benefits that issue from the said action instead of weighing heavily on the cost of the free product or service.
Customer service principles should also include the regular initiation of conversations with the customer. The management group of a business enterprise could make it a point to meet with random customers in retail outlets and in service centres to gauge the customer’s reaction to products and services. This action can also be managed through proxies in case the said enterprise is steered by celebrities. This can be done in the interests of undertaking a free and fair conversation and plumbing the minds of the average customers. The feedback can be evaluated and assessed from a business point of view, and may be melded in the planning process of new product development processes.
In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined the various customer service principles that should act as lodestones in the conduct of modern businesses. These principles should be actively pursued in every business transaction because these principles can help to widen the business enterprise and power its future growth. The nurturing of these principles should become the first priority in the boardrooms of the business enterprise. Every business must bear in mind that the individual customer is a human being and deserves to be treated as such. The customer is never a mere statistic or a dry metric. Therefore, the enterprise should approach every customer and transaction with the seriousness these rightfully deserve. In addition, business thinkers and the management cadre should help to develop and refine the said principles in an effort to create finer customer experiences.