Providing exceptional service is the ultimate goal. However, many organizations limit their teams’ ability to provide the type of service they want to deliver because rules and policies get in the way.
As I argued previously in 4 Steps to GIVE Exceptional Customer Service, “Each and every person in your organization has the opportunity to create a positive impression on your customers — to impact their experience and potentially convert them from a lukewarm satisfied customer to a red-hot loyal customer.” To do this, effective and flexible guidelines need to be in place so your team can give exceptional service each and every time.
4 Steps to Provide Exceptional Customer Service
In my experience as a leadership change consultant, the following four guidelines can help you effectively engage with your customers in all situations:
- Greet your customers the right way – with a smile and eye contact. How you greet your customers will set the tone for the interaction. Let the customer know you are ready to listen to their needs/concerns and do what you can to help them achieve their objectives.
- Interact with your customers by actively listening and being engaged with the conversation. Avoid jumping to conclusions and look for the deeper issue and real questions they want to address.
- Verify all the information your customers have provided. This will ensure you can offer a solution that is alignment with their personal needs.
- Thank your customers for calling/visiting and communicating with your company. A simple “thank you” can make a huge impact, even when the customer has a complaint.
Why Your People Need Guidelines, Not Policies
To give exceptional service, it’s important for your organization to provide your team with guidelines, not strict policies and rules, if you want them to create memorable customer service experiences. Rules and policies can be restrictive and sound scripted, and your frontline service providers need flexibility with how they interact with customers in order to provide the best service possible.
As discussed in the article Why Employees Need Guidelines Not Rules, “While there’s nothing wrong with this in principle, there are always going to be situations where a certain degree of flexibility is essential because people are unique. The way they react to situations is also unique, and if you’re trying to offer great customer service, you have to be flexible enough to respond to their needs.”
“So, apart from rules that tell an employee what they can or can’t do, it’s also essential that employees have guidelines as well. These guidelines will provide the boundaries that allow your team to make appropriate decisions for the benefit of the customer — and the organization — without having to seek a supervisor’s approval every time.”
What changes to your approach could you make that allow your team to give exceptional service?
- Allow common sense to prevail in all service situations
- Empower your frontline team members, and give them a reasonable amount of authority to act
- Get rid of the canned responses and processes that impede your employees ability to provide personalized and effective service
While rules are a necessary evil in some situations, flexible guidelines make it easier for your team to give exceptional customer service and help your customers get the service and experience they expect.