- Customer Service; The assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services.
- Accommodating; Those who are easy to get along with and willing to help you. Those who are cheerfully willing to make small adjustments to help you out.
The thought of this difference never really crossed my mind until recently. As I'm traveling through Ireland and dealing with Hotels, Restaurants, Drivers, Shops and Bars, the stark reality of one versus the other made me start thinking.
Is it possible to have one without the other?
- Patient-Dealing with clients on a daily basis, it's important to stay patient when they come to you if they are frustrated (for whatever reason). Also be sure to take the time to truly figure out what they want — they’d rather get competent service than be rushed out the door!
- Attentiveness-What are your customers telling you without saying it?
- Clear communication skills-When it comes to important points that you need to relay clearly to customers, keep it simple and make sure you are clear.
- Knowledge-Without knowing your product and/or service from front-to-back, you won't know how to help customers when they run into problems.
- A calming presence-Don't let a heated customer let you loose your cool. Staying calm in fact, is the best way to de-escalate a fiery situation.
- Empathy-When you can’t tell the customer exactly what they want to hear, a dose of care, concern and understanding will go a long way.
Just to name a few!
- Truly listen. Offer expertise, but make sure you are listening as much as you talk.
- Be responsive. Customers want answers, fast. Even if your answer can’t be delivered immediately, always email or call back the same day. In today's age of Technology, there is just no excuse.
- Accommodate customers. Unfortunately, customers can cause a bit of frustration with being late or even be a no show. Keep in mind, when you speak with that client, that every client is a potential brand ambassador, meaning every interaction can be a selling point or a barrier to attracting more business.
- Build trust. Going the extra mile and showing passion for the client builds loyalty, trust and a longer customer relationship.
- Live the company values. To ensure a great client-service experience, your Business needs to make customer service and accommodating your clients a culture.. When creating a company culture, standard practices, or a mission statement, highlight the importance of customer service.
- Don't grow too quickly. Don’t sacrifice quality in lieu of hunger for growth. Happy customers lead to word-of-mouth referrals and an overall positive company brand, image and reputation. This organic and steady growth is what will lead to a much healthier company.
I often read on SM questions about "what would you do if"? These "if's" are mostly related to questions regarding clients being late, a client who forgets her money to pay, a no show. I also see messages from Technicians to clients (usually no name mentioned) in regards to these issues. It boggles my mind.
No doubt, there is frustration in Business. However, thriving in Business isn't about what can your customer do for you....it's about what can you do for your customer.
- Manage your frustrations privately, not on SM for the whole world to see.
- Remember - your client IS your income.
- Learn how to communicate clearly and communicate professionally with clients who seem to take advantage of you.
I can tell you from personal experience, many of my frustrating clients ended up being my best "raving fans". It's not what happens to you as much as it is how you handle what happens to you.
So...think about it. Customer service is hugely important, Accommodating just as much. Do you know the difference?