Posts Tagged ‘compliants’
By: Stephen Novak
I was heading home after a late meeting and didn’t feel like cooking. On my way was an Italian restaurant that I’d heard had great food – being a sucker for Italian, I thought I’d give it a try. When I entered the building I walked to the front counter. I approached the employee behind the register who was seated on a bar stool leaning back against the wall while staring off into space. I explained that this was my first visit, I had heard good things, and would like to order some dinner to-go. The employee leaned forward…popped out his ear buds…and said, “Hugh”. I took a step back and then repeated what I had just said. He had a puzzled look on his face as he said, “You can’t order to-go food up here.”
Of course I asked, “Well, where can I order food to-go?” He pointed to an area towards the back of the restaurant…put his ear buds back in…and leaned back. I walked to the area that he designated and waited…and waited. Two servers walked by at least twice before I flagged one of them down. I immediately recognized the why-are-you-bothering-me look on her face. I’d go on, but the rest of my visit wasn’t any better. This experience enlightened me to the fact that although good customer service may be hard to define, poor customer service stands out like fingernails scraping along a chalkboard. Let me explain:
You could pull a hundred different people off the street and ask them the question, “What is good customer service?” And you would probably get a hundred different responses. What’s OK for one person may not be good for another, but there are some fundamentals that must be present in any customer interaction.
Some typical “good customer service” elements that we all look for are:
- We want to feel welcomed when we enter a business.
- We want to be treated with respect.
- We want to be listened to.
- We want to get what we were promised and treated fairly.
- We want to be thanked for our business.
Any business that is serious about providing good customer service must have these elements at the core of their customer service process. Keep in mind that these elements are just a starting point. If your goal is to provide excellent customer service, then you must notch up the intensity of the above elements while monitoring their effectiveness. Tweak when necessary and eliminate any obstacle that prevents your customers from having such a positive experience that they honor you with their business time and time again.
Copyright © Stephen Novak 2011 Rising Moon Publications. All rights reserved.
If you ask most any small business owner what goes into providing great customer service and you have answers such as, being polite, serving promptly, keeping your promises etc. But in this hi-tech age we live in, we often forget that the humble written letter has just as an important role in ensuring good customer service. How many times have you received a ‘letter of apology’ which makes you even more dissatisfied? The message it conveys, the tone of the letter, the language used – many times only heightens your frustration!
With some careful thought and planning, a well-crafted letter can provide comfort to a complaining customer and enhance your business reputation as a customer-focused business. the following are some tips on how to write a great letter.
Why are you writing a letter?
You have to be in the right frame of mind when you start. Are you writing to handle a complaint, to answer a query or to thank a customer for placing an order? Framing the letter in the right context means you will use the appropriate language and the tone will be correct. Try writing a thank you letter as if you are responding to a complaint – the message is totally different.
Before you begin, stop and think for a minute to decide what your aim or goal is.
State your purpose of your letter
Start off by summarising why you are writing to the customer. Open your letter by saying that you are responding to a query, or to resolve a problem they might have had. Stating why you are contacting them puts them in the right frame of mind to accept your message. An opening summary will grab their attention best.
Include a W.I.I.F.M.
WIIFM stands for ‘What’s in it for me?’ To truly engage your customer and get them on your side or to see your point of view, you have to include why it will benefit them. While it may see selfish, customers care about their problem and only their problem. Your customers have to get something out of your letter so they feel satisfied, or at the very least, that they have been heard. What could their WIIFM be? Their complaint may be resolved; they may get a discount on their next order, coupons or maybe priority service the next time they use you. Treating them like they are special can also go far and could create a raving fan of your business. If the compliant is a minor one, a simple, yet sincere heartfelt apology may be enough!
Do not say ‘I’
If possible, avoid filling your letter with I’s. The customer will find it hard to link with you if they receive, it’s all about ‘me, me, me’ letters. Edit your letters and wherever possible substitute ‘I’ with ‘you’. Change the focus to the reader. Make them feel valued.
Write as you speak
Your writing style should reflect the way you would talk to some one in person. Providing good customer service comes down to how you interact or communicate with your client and letters can play an important role in the process.
Clear call to action
While writing a great letter, you don’t want it to tail off into nothing. Have a clear action-orientated close. Make sure your reader knows what you expect him or her to do next. Maybe something along the lines of – “call me so we can discuss this idea in more depth”, “Fill in the attached form and place it in the mailbox”, “send me an order” (a bit strong perhaps but certainly to the point!). A resounding call-to-action is a great way to finish a letter and leaves the customer in no doubt what he or she needs to do next which is another important element of quality customer service.
Have someone check your letter
If you are writing an important letter or one that contains a complex message, it’s best to ask someone to proof read it before you send it out. A different, fresh set of eyeballs. Another person can not only check your spelling, but also check readability. Is the structure of the message you wish to convey clear and easy to understand? You’ll be surprised by what someone else will pick up, that you might have completely missed!
We’ve covered some useful tips on how to write a superb letter, which will further enforce your image of providing exceptional customer service.