The three S’s of customer service SucceSS!
Graham Roberts-Phelps, www.brilliant-customer-service-training.com
“If you are willing to do more than you are paid to do, eventually you will be paid to do more than you do.”
There are three S’s in Success when it comes to delivering brilliant customer service. Whether you working in an organisation serving customers and colleagues or running a department or the whole organisation, the principles are the same.
The first is to set your own standards of customer service – decide to be outstanding, to serve people to the highest level. Regardless of whether they deserve or if you have to. You give the best level of service you can because of who YOU are, not because of who they are, or to meet your company’s expectations. The fact is that you only really get noticed, stand-out or move ahead when you do more than you have, without being asked or prompted. The great shame is that most customer service people just preform at a level that is often at best indifferent and worst poor. They do the least, the minimum, they have to. The average person gives average service, survey after survey shows to be true. But you can be different, success is a choice. Simply start by making a decision, today and from not on, to be brilliant and then define what that is. Create a vision, set targets and measures if you need, or just be determined to be recognised as the person who is the best at customer service, no matter what you do, no matter what others do or what your organisation requires of you.
Interestingly, the psychological reward, satisfaction and pride from a task has more to do with how well you do it than what the task is. For example, as Dr Abraham Maslow observed, “a first class soup is better than a second class oil painting.” Make excellence, being outstanding and being described as brilliant your passion and obsession. This means setting your customer service bar higher than anyone else and aiming to achieve that level with every customer, every time, every day.
Next, it is about systems. Not computer systems in particular, but mental and physical systems. Think up routines, check-lists, habits, processes and procedures. This will allow you and others to replicate results. Remember, success does not just happen. It takes planning , practice and preparation. Failure and mediocrity do just happen, in the absence of these things, they happen all by themselves. Being consistent means being able to replicate the same things and results over and over. It does not mean you never deviate from a script or a set process, but you add to it or vary when you can but have a proven method for the rest of the time. A short-cut to getting started is to copy what others are doing with regards to customer service, after all success does leave clues!
Finally, invest, practice and develop the customer service skills you need. See your current ability or level in each of the most important skills of your customer service or support job is simply the starting point. Even you are you really good at some aspects, aim to better, bigger and more brilliant.
No matter what your job or how you serve or support customers, it takes many different types of skills. If you are not updating your skills and knowledge on a daily basis you are almost certainly falling behind. This is in comparison to the others and the expectation and needs of your company, colleagues and customers. This means looking learning in every day situations. It requires that you keep practising your key customer service skills whilst maintaining an open mind.
Review what you do and seek constant, small and meaningful improvement – in this way even small incremental changes that can be done every day will lead to much larger gains in skills and ability.
Also, consider every challenging situation as a learning opportunity. Look to get others to teach or show you how to do things they do well that you do not. Read books on customer service, business, communication and people skills and learn whatever you need to. Make you sure you watch instructional videos and attend classes and training, even at your own expense. Consider the time spent on developing your customer service skills as an investment not a cost. Finally, teach others what you know if people ask you. The more you give of your knowledge, the more you gain.
- Set high personal service standards and make sure your and others work to them.
- Aim to add value by doing more than you are paid, more than the customer asks or more than the minimum required to get by.
- For each aspect and customer service contact-point, develop scripts, check-lists, processes and procedures that work and keep refining them so they work better.
- Build routines and habits so your best behaviours become automatic and excellence becomes and everyday occurrence.
- Keep adding and improving to your skills. If you are not moving ahead you are falling behind.
- Look to learn from others and teach others where and when you can.
- See every challenge, difficulty or new task or situation as a learning opportunity.