Imagine you are walking up to the counter at your local bedding, cookware and cutlery store to pay for that new cast iron pot. You hand over your coupon, and just as you completed your purchase, your significant other rushes up with a last-minute item. You look at the teller for options and she says, “Well, you can always come back.”
You don’t have to imagine it, this scenario actually happened. I’m sure you’re thinking about your own experience where a store lost out on a sale all because their staff didn’t make it convenient for you.
“Every sale counts. You should always look at how you can serve the customer,” says Lidia Michalak, an Assistant Store Manager at a large retail appliance and clothing store. There were a number of options available, such as reversing the sale, applying the coupon, and ringing it up again with the new item.
This customer-centric approach is especially true for small businesses. To build an exceptional customer service culture as you scale your business, remember to:
1. Define Your Company’s Customer Service Vision. Your customer service vision doesn’t need to be long to be effective. As the business owner, you may have beliefs or ideals about customer service so it’s important to communicate them to your team. USAA has a simple vision that includes: Service. Loyalty. Honesty. Integrity.
2. Continuously Train Your Team. Training is not a “set it and forget it” task. Remember that you have both internal and external customers. Everyone needs to know how their role impacts the internal or external customer. Set a time on your monthly team meeting to review a company standard and the specific behaviors the employees are expected to deliver that’s consistent with your vision and culture.
3. Celebrate Wins. When you notice a team member performing well, acknowledge and recognize it. Your team needs to hear when things are going well.
4. Model Your Standards. Treat your team the way you want them to treat the customer. If you want your team members to treat the customer well, you need to treat your team members well. If you’re seeing an incongruence, ask yourself if you’re modeling the very behavior you want to see and if you have adequately trained your team members.
5. Ask your customers for feedback. The most valuable feedback comes from your customers. Use real life scenarios to identify what was done to standard and what was missing that would make a real difference in the customer experience. This is a great way for you to connect with your clients, too, by calling them to see how things are going for them.
6. Empower Your Team. Identify what is specifically allowable so the team member understands all of the possible options that are available when working with the customer. When they know the options, they can pull out one of these options when working with the customer. It’s also important to roleplay with them while being trained so they recognize the scenario and know which option to provide to the customer.
As your business grows, you will need to rely on your staff. A well-trained and frequently trained staff ensures your company retains every single sale and cultivates an exceptional customer service culture.