19 Mar Customer Service: Going Beyond the Expected
By Nicole Galowin
Vice President, Executive Office & Support Services
Travel Leaders Network & Leisure Group
The quality of your company’s customer services has direct and immediate consequences. Poor customer service is simply free advertising for your competition, and no organization wants that. On the other hand, good customer service is inexpensive marketing that promotes the value of your company and generates satisfied customers.
But then there’s excellent customer service, and that can make the difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal customer. We’ve worked hard to create an atmosphere of excellent customer service here at Travel Leaders Network, making it easy and beneficial for our members to contact us for all their needs.
So what exactly is the difference between a satisfied customer and loyal customer? More than you realize. A satisfied customer will enjoy and accept the services you provide, but they’ll also seek other options if they’re available. They are connected to your company by a piece of string: it’s a solid and straight connection, but it can easily be severed.
A loyal customer, though, will always come to your company first, happy to give you their business. In fact, they’ll likely stay with you even when the price of your service or product rises. And while the quality of those services and products plays a key role in that relationship, your customer service team—by going above and beyond what is expected—is what cements customer loyalty.
So how does you customer service team go above and beyond? It starts with active listening, a skill that deserves to be developed. When your team is actively listening, they are focused first and foremost on the customer, never interrupting them and asking questions to confirm what they are saying. This makes the client feel validated and valuable, and it helps your team show empathy to the client’s struggles.
Timing is another important key to customer service. Clients expect prompt responses to their queries, whether that’s by phone, email or social media. The absolute worst thing you can do to a client is ignore them. By answering quickly, you are again validating their worth to your company.
You should also validate the importance of your employees on the customer service team. Send surveys out to those you have assisted, and then reward those employees who score well on surveys. The surveys will also illustrate areas where your team could become more efficient and improve their conflict resolution skills.
It takes times to find and train a professional customer service team, but it is time very well spent. These people—who are often isolated in a separate part of the building away from the VPs and managers—are your lifeblood to creating and maintaining loyal customers for life.