Educate your customers about your products and services. If you own a hobby shop, you can keep customers coming back by helping them develop knowledge of their own hobbies.
Make sure items are delivered in good condition. Call the customer after delivery and if a piece is not right, offer to fix it or replace it.
Offer your customers personal attention, even if they don’t buy anything. Engage them in pleasant conversation and find out why they’re not buying. Make use of what you learn.
Go out of your way to meet customer needs. One interior designer got draperies made for a client in a hurry so they would be ready for an at-home wedding.
Show appreciation. Make sure employees always thank customers for their business. Consider sending occasional handwritten thank-you notes.
Now having worked extensively in both sales and customer service over the years I certainly would concur with these tips. In my current position as the Returns Manager for a major manufacturer I deal with both customer service and sales associates from major retailers all day long. It seems that most do a pretty fair job but all too often I run into individuals who have failed to provide their customer with adequate information about the product they were purchasing. At this point, I simply have no patience with the lazy and slipshod. In an increasingly difficult economy the companies that will survive are those that pay close attention to the little things. Companies should expect nothing less from their employees and customers should demand it at all times.
Finally, Bill Gates of Microsoft has remarked: "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." During my years in the business world I found this observation to absolutely true. Sometimes a problem crops up due to your own incompetence. At other times it is a comedy of errors that you as an individual had nothing to do with. In either case you must deal with the problem and hopefully learn from it. Trust me, it can be very painful! On a good many occasions over the years I have changed my own SOP as a result of just one incident. You live and learn as they say. So for those who are in any way involved in customer service be passionate about what you do and strive for excellence in each and every transaction. And when you are the customer expect nothing less. Great customer service is essential and very highly recommended!
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According to Jamier L. Scott. (2002), “Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation."
Its importance varies by product, industry and customer; defective or broken merchandise can be exchanged/swapped, often only with a receipt and within a specified time frame. Retail stores will often have a desk or counter devoted to dealing with returns, exchanges and complaints, or will perform related functions at the point of sale.
Customer service may be provided by a person (e.g., sales and service representative), or by automated means called self-service. Examples of self service are Internet sites. The experience a customer has of a product also affect the total service experience, but this is more of a product direct feature than what is included in the definition of customer service.
Customer service is normally an integral part of a company’s customer value proposition. In their book Rules to Break and Laws to Follow, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D. write that "customers have memories. They will remember you, whether you remember them or not." Further, "customer trust can be destroyed at once by a major service problem, or it can be undermined one day at a time, with a thousand small demonstrations of incompetence."
From the point of view of an overall sales process engineering effort, customer...