This article first appeared on September 9th, 2011.
I’m in the process of starting up my business and need to take on some salespeople.
How do I ensure that they, and my business culture in general, has a good customer service ethos?
Great question – because the customer is king — always! I really think that a great customer focussed culture begins with you the business owner. Are you really serious about this and if so what are the actions your business will take to demonstrate this?
I suggest you make a list of the actions your company and all your people will commit to look after the customer. It’s often all the little things that count. For example, customer response times and the manner in which the customer is responded to. Some rules as, never argue with the customer, always listen to feedback and respond with a positive action.
A customer service manual is a really important part of your business or procedures manual and I suggest it should be part of the induction of every member of your team – from the receptionist to the accountant.
Customer service is a total company attitude. It is not negotiable. It should be part of the DNA of your business brand. It can be one of the things that distinguish your business in the market place – it can be your unique selling proposition, it will undoubtedly affect your bottom line.
In today’s market place where everyone is time poor it may be the most powerful reason people buy your product or service. Everything about you and your business has to be about benefits for your customer or you have no relevance in the market place.
In addition to a customer service manual I recommend training, training, training. And even before that comes the type of people you recruit. Make very sure that you recruit sales people with the right attitude to life and people.
You can train anyone in the product or service benefits but it’s much harder to train them in attitude.
Have a very close look at their career history, the companies they have worked for, their hobbies, how they present. Some people should simply never be in sales!
If we look at companies like McDonalds we can get a lot of ideas about the importance of focussing on customer service. We know that companies like this spend a lot of time and effort training their people and it seems to be part of the DNA of their brand.
Treat your customer service manual with respect, discuss it regularly with your team. Include customer service in your KPIs for you team, review their customer service performance regularly.
Get their suggestions for improving customer service and most importantly, ask your customers for feedback about your service.