Deal or No Deal

By on December 1, 2009
Deal or No Deal

As the holiday season quickly approaches, most of us will get to experience retail customer service, or perhaps a lack thereof. The days when companies were simply required to meet customer needs are over. Customers today are more and more demanding because they are smarter and have more choices. The merely satisfied customer is not necessarily going to be a loyal customer, i.e., someone who not only returns, but will promote or become an advocate for your business. In some ways, customers approach receiving service with a “Deal/No Deal” mindset; that is, either exceed my expectations or I will take my business elsewhere.

How do we create work environments in which customer expectations are consistently exceeded, thus making the Deal?

Listen: Talk to your customers and listen carefully to what they have to say. Turn your customers into advocates – someone who will tell their friends and family about your products and services. A satisfied or happy customer will tell three to five persons about good service. We can exceed the competition by giving the customers what they want and making it personal.

Survey: Survey your customers to find out if they’re satisfied with your products or services. Make the survey simple, four or five questions, and leave room for comments. Often times, customers may need to tell you things that you forget to ask. If you get negative comments make sure you follow-up with the customer immediately to address the issue and fix the problem.

Find Out About the Competition: Always engage your customers in conversation about your services. You will usually find out about the customer’s needs and possibly how your competitors fit into the equation. Is there something you can offer that your competitors are not? Think of the ways you can go the extra mile to exceed your customer’s expectations. If you always make it your mission to surprise and delight your customers, the word will spread quickly.

Mission Statement: Does the mission of your company focus on customer service? Make the mission statement personal for each customer that comes through your doors. Post your mission statement somewhere where everyone will see it, both employees and customers.

Make it Personal: Make customer service personal for everyone in your organization. As customers interact with each employee, are they conscious of their body language, voice tones, and how to show that they’re listening? Knowing they are being listened to and heard will increase your value to the customer and ensure that you are going above and beyond customers’ expectations.

We must always think of ways to engage our customers in conversation to help us uncover their wants and needs. What can you do to turn information and creativity into action for the customer, thus getting the customer to say every time, “Deal!”

About Karin Fowler

Karin is the Senior Program Manager and Customer Service Business Practice Leader at St. Louis Community College, Workforce Solutions Group (WSG) Division, where she manages the Metropolitan Education Training (MET) Center. She manages and develops workshops in Customer Service, Career Development, Resume Writing, Interviewing and Leadership skills. She has been a Customer Service Business Practice Leader and Facilitator with the Workforce Solutions Group since July 1999. Karin has extensive experience in the areas of customer service development, training and delivery. In addition, she also manages on-site contracts to develop and deliver training for displaced and adult workers for coaching and career strategies. Karin consistently receives high praise on course evaluations with such comments as - “Karin’s inner personal attitude makes you want to be better,” “Helped me take a look at myself and helped me with better customer service; “Kept the audience involved” and “Karin re-integrated main points as examples during our group discussions and activities.”

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