All too often, service is not a priority for management. Instead of focusing on people--on their customers--they focus on numbers. What they don't realize is that, if they would pay attention to their customers' needs and do whatever they can to fill those needs, the numbers will follow.
In order to increase sales and profits, organizations must provide the type of service that will gain--and retain--customers. That doesn't mean advertising that "the customer is king," or that "the customer is always right." Those are mere words. Customers will decide for themselves what kind of service you really provide.
You must act, not profess. You must make customer service a priority. You must do whatever it takes to provide your customers with what they need and want and to do so quickly, enthusiastically, and accurately.
To ensure that service becomes a driving force in your organization, you also should develop a plan, much as you would for any other goal, personal or professional, in your life. For example, if you decide that you would like to retire at 55, you must develop a plan that will get you there. Just as importantly, you must work that plan.
Before you develop a customer service plan and put it in writing, take these steps:
When organizations know what is important to their customers, and when they realize the shortcomings of their current service, they are ready to write a service plan. Planning, drafting, and implementing that plan requires management commitment, a long-term strategy, and continual effort to improve service. It will take some work, but the rewards will be well worth the effort.
John Tschohl, internationally recognized service strategist, is founder and president of the Service Quality Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Described by USA Today, Time, and Entrepreneur as a "customer service guru," he has written several books on customer service and has developed more than 26 customer-service training programs that have been distributed throughout the world.
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