The Way I Understand Customer Service.. From a Scrap Dealer, Sans the Jargon

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From my Archives elsewhere....

Can you really teach Customer Service and Customer Centricity in classrooms? I come across very few people who have this attitude as second nature. In-built in them. They never attended a training course on customer service but I feel safe in their hands. E.g. .the guy who recently sold my accident car. Personally to me it means many things. Here are some lessons I learn and preach.

Never delay your response to a question particularly if the answer is NO. Say NO right away when something is not do-able by you as a seller or service provider.
If someone writes to you merely to seek a piece of information that you have readily available, send the response immediately without wasting a minute. Do not make people wait for information that you do not own.
Always under promise and over deliver. Always maintain a pleasant appearance..
Listen to the customer. What he/she needs is not necessarily what they mean. They may be mixing tools and objectives. Understand and then offer them an alternative to choose from. CHOICE is important. E.g. the guy who sold my car also offered me a buy back option! He was so clear. That I was not going to buy is something I did not commit yet. I appreciated he telling me thus on his own.
Be as responsive and courteous to the 'small' guys as you are to the 'big' guys. Ultimately you need to work with the 'small' guys.
Never feel bogged down when customer calls you repeatedly, even in the middle of the night. Even when the money matters aren't discussed and agreed to yet. Money isn't the only reason they like or dislike you.
Share knowledge to let the customers help themselves. esp. on trivial issues. There is plenty of knowledge out there that you did not create. So do not act pricey. You can only do SO much even if they are throwing all the time and money at you.
Do not intimidate your customers (esp. when you are a consultant). I know many management and IT consultants who do this all the time by citing them how iron age kinds they are and that they need to do a lot to be 'best in class'. There are ways of saying this even for marketing sake.
Do all you can to simplify everything for the customers sake. Including things like giving quotes and raising invoices. Do not put so much fine print. Quote rates inclusive of all taxes and costs. Say they pay only so much and not a dime more. Only a dime less. That much risk wrt predictably of taxes etc can always be taken.
Maintain transparency esp. wrt what it will eventually cost them. Fine print drives away many customers. Clearly mention your deliverable and the date by which you will give them.
Give customers something free. Anything. Extra service. Extra goods. Extra education. They appreciate. If not immediately, 10 years later when they will talk about you with someone else in a bar. So someone might reach out to you for business someday. Unexpected sources.
NEVER underestimate a customer's ability to pay. Billionaires do not tip. Bank balances are not the determinant of generosity. You will be pleasantly surprised.
NEVER assume that you are hired for a task or got some business because you know more than the customer or the customer did not have another option. You are hired or have been given some business perhaps because your customer does not consider it worthwhile investing their personal time and money into it. So you are not always as important and indispensable as you DEEM yourself to be.
Be modest. Admit your ignorance when you do not know. Refer people who know better. That only enhances your credibility as a service provider. You need not lose all your business in the process to some fictitious competitor.
NEVER forget that there is always someone better out there in the market who is not blowing his own trumpet. Your customers, if sharp, can always find them anytime and kick you out without notice