Go into many businesses today and try and get service, its sometimes impossible! The customer service officer is on the phone talking about personal issues, there is not enough staff, and they are disinterested and distracted.
The old days of customer service is where you the customer were viewed as valuable and important and you received service from a person and not a machine.
With an emphasis on shareholder wealth and increased profits the shift has been slowly eroding the service ethos of many businesses. This has not gone unnoticed!
Many employees in these businesses become disenchanted with the 'ivory tower' mentality of management as they issue edicts from afar without employee consultation and finding out what really happens at the shop front.
Off course (sic) looking at the glossy brochures you would see that the business is a committed believer in service excellence but the fact remains it's not forthcoming.
By way of example take the banks that are closing down branches and steadily increasing fees for services that you were once told were free.
For the ordinary consumer we cop it on the chin, complain to ourselves and our neighbors or put up with it and say nothing.
This mediocrity in service mentality thrives because we are silent and the banks and other businesses know this. It a bit like politicians who leak policy to the media, weather the storm and then know the general populace will get used to it. The malaise of apathy ensures that they win!
But you can respond and you should.
People power has enormous effect if it is sustained and enough people complain ? or compliment.
What can you do!
1. When someone delivers a shoddy product or service approach the business politely and firmly and ask that the issue be addressed.
2. Don't take NO for an answer! Sometimes it takes persistence to get heard or in other words the 'squeaky wheel gets the oil'.
3. Reward good service. If your bank manager or service clerk gives good services compliment them. This is very important.
4. If you are given excellent service write a letter to their manager and say 'thank you'
5. If you own a business reward good customer service. Rewards do not have to be expensive.
6. Lead by example if you are a manager.
Take the following example of excellence in service;
An Audiometrist who sold hearing aids to 8 clients a day used to ring 2 of their clients the next day to see how the new hearing aids were working. This business grew a solid reputation for service and new potential customers would often ring up and ask to see this Audiometrist by name.
By taking the time to ensure that their customers were looked after the business was able to outsell other hearing aid suppliers because people were treated with respect. This subsequently cut down the advertising and marketing costs of the business ensuring that the business had a steady stream of referrals and business and could focus on customer service. It had the effect that because of trust people would purchase more expensive hearing aids because they trusted the business and its service ethos.
Business isn't difficult if you know your market and take the time to care for people!
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Philip Lye is the founder of Biz Momentum providing strategic human resource management advice to help your business grow. Philip is a author and educator who trains management and employees to work together to achieve tangible results. Philip has had considerable international experience.
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