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What tactics should I use to ensure our customer service is up to scratch?

Friday, 29 July 2011 | By Tom O'Toole
What tactics should I use to ensure our customer service is up to scratch? Do I need guidelines and training?

 

There are many, many tactics for improving customer service. But I recommend using professional mystery shoppers. They’ve helped us greatly over the years.

 

I’ve found it best if you set the guidelines for what mystery shoppers look for.

 

Examples: Are the floors, tables and glasses clean? Are the displays tidy? Are the shelves and fridges well-stocked? Are the toilets clean?

 

Did the staff members greet you and give you eye contact? Did they smile? Did they make you feel welcome? Did the staff members thank you and give you a friendly farewell?

 

You need to give the mystery shoppers their guidelines. Include every little thing that you feel should be evaluated.

 

Such as: Did staff members have their name badges on? The better the guidelines, the better the results.

 

You also need mystery shoppers to note what time the shop was visited. Was it busy? What items did they purchase? Did staff members offer any other items?

 

If you sit down and give this list a lot of thought, you can improve your customer service immensely. You’ll start working on your business instead of just in it.

 

Another thing we use are customer comments. We’ve been using these comment sheets for well over 20 years now.

 

On these sheets there are no guidelines, so you can get anything. Some helpful, and some not so helpful.

 

The only thing we ask the customer is: How can we serve you better?

 

Over the years, we have received tens of thousands of these feedback forms. And we have written back to every single one of them.

 

These customers have truly helped us grow our business. We are very grateful, because they could always just leave if they’re not satisfied and we would never know why.

 

All the staff get to read these customer comments. If we have fallen down on any part of our customer service, we know by the end of that same day what the customer thinks.

 

The comments work because they have no guidelines. The customers give us their criticism or praise plus their own ideas for success.

 

As for training, my staff are my biggest cost, so I had better make sure they’re well trained.

 

People say to me: What if I train them and they leave? But what if you don’t train them and they stay? I see a lot of businesses that don’t do nearly enough training.

 

You need to educate your staff about exactly what great customer service involves.

 

What they think is great customer service may not be in your eyes, so you’ve got to train them and retrain them. It’s an ongoing process.

 

We all need to know what our guidelines are, so then we know where we’re falling down and where we’re up to scratch. Proper training never ends.