Having recently returned from a month in the USA I am now seeing Australia’s customer service in a new light. The tipping culture in the states has bred enthusiastic, helpful and efficient customer service in all it’s various forms. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in: retail, hospitality or business to business sales, the American energetic desire to help clients and customers shines through.
It’s true that in lowly paid positions tips are essential for employees to earn a decent living. But the quality customer service culture permeates all the way to the upper echelons of high priced business to business sales as well.
Australians are known around the world for their friendly, welcoming and accepting nature. So why is our customer service so poor? Why do so many retail salespeople only offer to help you when they feel like it? Why do bar staff have such a too cool attitude and serve you, without a smile, whenever they are good and ready? I don’t understand why someone trying to sell you their goods or services can ever feel like they are doing you a favour.
I feel I speak with a little authority on the subject having now worked in a wide variety of sales and customer service roles for over 20 years here and overseas. I’ve sold mobile phones, music, electrical equipment, toys, real estate, financial products, websites and now digital marketing services. I worked out that I’ve interacted with over 40,000 customers from all walks of life, wanting different things and understand that great customer service comes down to one fundamental thing: Respect.
The customer is not always right but they always deserve respect.
Your boss doesn’t pay your salary – your customers do. Without the money from your clients and customers, there would be no salary. Customers are the most important people you work with.
With this in mind here are my top 4 tips for outstanding customer service.
Bonus Tip: These recommendations also work for successful interactions between team members in the office. Just swap out customer/client for co-worker and these tips will keep morale high.
Well, if you have treated the customer with respect, communicated clearly, been as helpful as possible and they are still being unreasonable, it is time to move on. Resist the urge to put them in their place. I can speak from experience that when dealing with an unreasonable, illogical customer that you gain little satisfaction telling them how they are wrong and making them feel small. It does not matter if you are right and they are wrong – when you argue with a client, you lose. If an argument is inevitable, it’s best to cut your losses and, as politely as possible, end the communication. But if you follow these 4 tips you should be keeping these negative interactions to a minimum and enjoying the successes of happy customers.