Customer service begins the first second your company has contact with the customer. This can be in person, on the telephone, through the mail, by seeing one of your delivery vans or even when one of your customers talks to one of your potential customers.
Remembering the fact that everyone is a potential customer is extremely important. And so, even employees should remember that their acquaintances, friends and family that they talk about their employer to on their off hours may be a future customer. Employees that speak derogatory of their employer may be costing the company customers.
In today’s society where social networking is done on the internet by many people it is extremely important that employees be careful to remember that anything that is said can affect the image of the company. This includes not only making bad comments about the company but also things such as cursing or voicing views that turn customers away. Owners and managers should talk with employees about how their social networking can impact the company and ultimately their position within the company if their social networking turns customers away from the company. Many employees may feel that what they do on their own time is no business of the company, but in this type of situation it can be.
When answering the question of “Where does customer service begin”, in this light, it is very evident that customer service begins with all employees and their first contact with any customers or potential customers.
It is extremely important that ALL employees that come into contact with customers and potential customers act in a professional manner. Years ago, I remember taking an order on the phone. The customer had been a customer for quite some time and she and I had a good rapport. There were about 60 other people that I worked with in one big office with only cubicles for dividers. Several of the employees were joking around, which they did quite often. They would get extremely loud at times. However, I had learned to work and ignore them. Well, in the course of my taking the order the customer asked me if there was a party going on. Since I had a good rapport with her I told her what was happening. And, the situation did not end badly, fortunately. If that had been a new customer she may have thought we were not a professional company and taken her business elsewhere. A report to management from me about the problem helped the management team know that there was a problem. The situation was brought up in the weekly staff meeting. The persons involved said they understood where it could be a problem. Of course, people still joked around but everyone tried to be more considerate and keep the noise down a bit more.
Now that it has been determined that every employee is part of customer service in your company. The next few articles will be on how much bad customer service can cost your company and how to help your company develop the best customer service possible.