When I was in high school, I worked for my uncle’s grocery store in Northern California. The store’s been in my family for more than 50 years. I was so excited to become part of a family tradition that happened to include a paycheck.
Watching my father work in the produce department, rarely taking breaks, and not stopping until everything was perfect, I saw what the saying –“if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right”– looks like in action. When my grandmother would head to work before sunrise, I saw what a “strong work ethic” looks like. And, when my grandfather spoke to customers with genuine care and desire to help, I saw “relationship management.”
The lessons I learned support my role today as a public relations practitioner, counseling brands and companies on strategies, tactics and tools they can use to build and grow dynamic relationships with their stakeholders.
Below is a time-tested list of customer service points, which applies to everything from the market place on Main Street to social media. These are meant to be reminders of the priceless value of consistently stellar service.
Take pride in your role and your brand
I remember people who are enthusiastic, passionate and proud of their work. People who go the extra mile inspire customer confidence. Develop a reputation for excellence by practicing it every day.
Develop relationships with regulars
Regulars can be some of your strongest brand ambassadors. In addition to being loyal patrons of your organization, regulars may be eager to provide recommendations to friends and share their experiences on social media. Reinforce your brand’s relationship with regulars by recognizing and rewarding them. Take their praise as seriously as critical comments. Never miss an opportunity to say thank you.
Customers and clients want to know they’re being heard and understood. They will remember if they feel heard when communicating with you. Listening is free and can mitigate issues before they become problems.
Communicate with genuine interest and concern. People will sense your authenticity and trust you.
No one wants to do business with a grump.
What customer service lessons do you have to share? What businesses do you notice having consistently stellar service?