Every day we come across a little bit of customer service in our life. It is when we deal with people from the service industry, and it can be as trivial as buying candy from a store or eating at a restaurant or even when getting petrol. These are the simple day to day activities which we may take for granted and accept service given to us as they are. However, have you ever had that encounter, when after being served, you have that smile on your face and a feeling of great satisfaction? Great satisfaction to the point of wanting to let people know how great your experience was? That is exceptional customer service!
To achieve exceptional customer service, there are a few things one must accomplish. These would be handy for people working in customer service, or plainly, in the service industry.
Assess the Situation
People in the service industry should always assess the situation. Why? This is to properly identify the needs and wants of the customer. Once the needs and wants of the customer are identified, the service provider can then move forward in carrying out their plan of action in assisting the customer. You may ask, why is it important to do this? This is for us to provide the service the customers are seeking. For example, in a restaurant, people go there to eat, and have a satisfying meal. Serving really good food is not enough to make the experience great. Enjoying the food you serve is of course essential to the dining experience but it will not give customers that ‘exceptional customer service feeling’. How do we give them that? We provide more than a meal. We give courtesy, we serve them smiling, we give suggestions after asking what they have in mind, and we aim to see the customer looking happy and satisfied when we serve them. Exceptional customer service is when our smiles are reciprocated and they leave us with that positive feeling too.
Once we know what our customers are looking for, we can then move forward in providing options available to them. This way, we widen the scope of their considerations and choices, which elevates the perceived standard of service being offered. Again, we can look at the diner scenario. A couple comes in; we know that this couple wants to eat; we seat them at a table; give them the menu; offer the day’s specials or deals and we wait. Usually, customers would be asking questions, we must be able to answer them thoroughly and informatively as possible. When we are providing the menu and offering them what we have, we should be giving them options. And if we were able to properly assess their desire, we can match it up with something that we can provide. Exceptional customer service is when we do our jobs and offer something more. Going the extra mile with every step of our service.
Once the customer has made up his mind, told us what they need and what they want, we can then move forward to providing the service. Service is what customers expect when they turn to us and service is what we should provide. It can be as simple as providing information when they seek it. Or servicing them, for instance, at a store when a customer buys something, we provide service when we sell them the product. Selling something is not just merely wrapping the sold items and getting their payment. It should always be more than that. Let’s say a customer comes to a convenience store and buys milk. We as servers should always check the merchandise being bought, and make sure it is in good condition. As a cashier at a convenience store, providing exceptional customer service is when a customer buys milk, we check the carton to make sure it is sealed, we check the expiration date – making sure we are not selling spoiled milk, and we check if there are any deals (e.g. buy 1 get 1 free) before we let the customer pay for it. Doing our jobs by providing service and offering something extra gives the customers the feeling that they are valued, and that they are important to you.
Asking for Anything Else YOU Can Do For Them
After the transaction we should end with a BANG! You have already assessed the situation, provided suggestions and provided service, but ending the transaction with a BANG will be going the extra mile. This can simply be smiling at the customer when they bid goodbye or say thank you or ask if there is anything else that they need or anything else that you can do for them. There are times customers end the call or leave the store or restaurant or your business and then as soon as they take the first step out, they realize they still want or need something else. You as a service provider asking them “is there anything else I can help you with?” will go a long way. Those words would act as a reminder, a deal sealer and would often lead to a very pleasant smile. A smile after a transaction is always an exceptional customer service!
In the service industry, customer service is very important simply because this acts as our gauge in finding out if we are doing our jobs right. If we are providing the service that our customers need and want, then we are being effective as service providers. Exceptional customer service is when we know we did our jobs, we gave what the customer needs and wants, and they left us with a smile and will talk about how wonderful their experience was when dealing with us.