What drives great customer care?
Basic principles, common sense and continuous improvement drive exceptional customer care. It’s all about people and it applies to every organisation. Small businesses can do this too!
1. Put people first
Customers matter. It’s important to deliver exceptional customer care to sustain and grow your business. Happy customers are more likely to drive new customers to your business. By putting your customers at the heart of your business you will maximise their lifetime value.
Staff matter. Delivering exceptional customer care is hard work! Even if you’re a natural you still need the support and help of others around you to do your job well. Educating everyone in the business is one step towards a caring customer-centric culture, but don’t expect change to happen overnight. Choose a champion with the right mind set to lead the way forward and recruit like-minded people with the skills to deliver what’s needed.
2. Use common sense
At its most basic level, caring for customers is common sense. There are two basic principles. The first is: be friendly. For example, smile, listen, stay calm, be polite, show empathy and be respectful. The second is: be responsible. For example, do what you say you are going to do, take ownership of the situation, manage customer expectations and act with integrity.
3. Focus on what matters
Ask your customers what matters most to them. Then, measure your performance to give you a baseline for improvement. Metrics will be based around (i) emotional factors (predominantly qualitative in nature and more easily gathered through client feedback and customer surveys) and (ii) physical factors (usually quantitative such as the number of referrals, complaints per month and how long issues take to resolve).
Research by Nunwood suggests there are six pillars (The Six Pillars ®) that every business should focus on: personalisation, integrity, time and effort, expectations, resolution, and empathy. These pillars are what leading brands consistently master to deliver great customer service.
4. Keep at it
Don’t be overwhelmed. Delivering exceptional customer care is an on-going process of continuous improvement. Incremental steps towards improvement are more likely to be sustainable and easier to implement whilst running your small business.
This article was created for and published in March 2015 on the Microsoft UK Small and Medium Business Blog and titled "4 top tips to achieve great customer care by SMB expert Delia Porter".
Delia Porter, MD & Founder