7 Steps to Exceptional Customer Service - Customer Service
Construction Equipment Distribution magazine is published by the Associated Equipment Distributors, a nonprofit trade association founded in 1919, whose membership is primarily comprised of the leading equipment dealerships and rental companies in the U.S. and Canada. AED membership also includes equipment manufacturers and industry-service firms. CED magazine has been published continuously since 1920. Associated Equipment Distributors
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SECTION: Customer Service

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7 Steps to Exceptional Customer Service

Written By Roy Chitwood

Article Date: 10-01-2004
Copyright (C) 2004 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.

Regardless of title, every employee is selling or unselling your company every hour of the day.

Despite the public relations hoopla surrounding customer service today, exemplary service seems to be more the exception than the rule. Lofty corporate mission statements are often disconnected from the realities of day-to-day customer experiences. The current competitive business climate requires customer service representatives to acquire and utilize the most professional people skills available. Study after study reveals three critical findings: First, it costs, six to10 times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. Second, existing customers account for a majority of sales. And third, the referral business generated from satisfied customers is substantial. The financial benefits of caring for existing customers are clear. Regardless of the position you hold, it’s the customer who writes your paycheck. In providing excellent customer service, you increase the potential of those paychecks. Following are seven steps to exceptional customer service:
  • There is no average customer.
Each customer is special and wants to feel they’re the center of your universe. They want to know you’re motivated to serve them. Listen carefully, making note of what they say and respond with a phrase like, “I understand” to show you’re actively listening. Apologize when necessary and learn to value your customers who complain. A complaint is an opportunity to turn a problem into a sale. Thank customers for sharing their concerns with you.
  • Make their experience special.
A thrilled customer will not only be a source of repeat business but is likely to refer others. Understanding how potentially lucrative each interaction can be, thrill customers by making it clear you are focused on their complete satisfaction. Greet them warmly, be attentive, and have the products necessary to make their experience smooth and enjoyable. Show respect for your customers and answer questions thoroughly.
  • If your customer has a problem - take care of it.
Eliminate phrases like, “It is not company policy,” or “That is not my department.” In each interaction with a customer you represent the entire company. Therefore, you can’t assign blame or shift responsibility to another department. Be a professional: Step up to the plate and take action to solve the problem, regardless of its origin. Remember, when you represent the whole company, it’s not “them” who screwed up, it’s “us.” Look at the problem as an opportunity. If you respond to it in a way that makes the customer happy, you will preserve the relationship and secure repeat business. If a customer knows their concerns will be skillfully handled to their satisfaction, they are likely to remain loyal. Excerpted from October 2004 Construction Equipment Distribution. For the complete article, email jbrockmann@aednet.org or to subscribe, CLICK HERE.
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