Exceptional customer service increases loyalty, revenue and employee morale
Managers must set policies that reinforce good customer service and build effective service delivery processes.
When you are deciding where you want to go out for dinner, you likely select the place where “You just like it there.” You may not realize this, but it’s really the customer service that you like. You may call it the atmosphere, the vibe or whatever other term you have. But it is really the customer service experience that you may not necessarily be aware of, but it is what is driving your decision. Good customer service begins with the owner and managers.
When we think about management, we typically think about when to schedule employees, when to order raw materials, how to supervise employees or how to maintain a positive cash flow. However, the best companies, the places where you frequently shop or dine or entertain, have a strong customer experience strategy in place. Management manages the customer experience.
Managing the customer experience begins with hiring the correct people. You cannot teach a cat to bark, and you cannot teach a person to have a positive attitude or desire to serve. This means that you should hire managers who have the proper personal attitude to deliver exceptional service. And then teach them the skills of scheduling and other tasks. Managers set the tone and level of delivering an exceptional customer experience.
Managers with strong interpersonal skills can provide good customer service. In turn, these managers will hire and develop the correct employees; workers who have strong communication skills, functioning interpersonal communication skills, good problem solving skills, and a sense of pride when delivering good customer service. Setting the tone to deliver a wonderful customer experience requires managers to walk the talk on customer service. Managers who exibit the following qualities set the tone of an organization so employees can provide exceptional customer service:
- They do not punish workers too extensively
- They do not create too many “rules” of the job
- They provide empowerment opportunities
- They set positive customer service examples
- They reward employees for exceptional customer service
- They expect exceptional customer service from their employees
You may be familiar with the “kitchen” television programs where the main chef yells at the apprentice. Although they call these shows “reality TV,” there is practically no reality about it. Managers who scold employees, yell at employees or otherwise berate employees set a bad tone for providing good customer service. Employees who become stressed or get angry with their supervisor will take out their frustrations at work and customer service will diminish. If workers think that it is OK to yell at an employee, it must be OK to yell at a customer. Now set a positive example for your workers and provide exceptional customer experiences.
Paul J. Werner is a Michigan State University Extension educator from L’Anse, Michigan. You can obtain free business counseling by registering with the MSU Product Center. Werner has many years of experience in small business ownership and entrepreneurship; he and his wife currently own two small businesses in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.