Increasingly, businesses are realizing that they can't afford to provide customer service that isn't a cut above the rest. While this has always been a reality to some degree, the greater number of options that today's consumers have is making it an even more pressing challenge: There will always be a company that supplies the same goods and services as another, so the way an enterprise treats its clients is really what differentiates it from the competition. For this reason, it's critical that leaders don't let their employees go without customer service training.
Stand out now
Customer service that is responsive and compassionate builds loyalty almost instantly. For example, Alan Silberberg, founder of Gov 2.0 L.A. and Digijaks, wrote in the Huffington Post about a recent experience with American Airlines that far exceeded his expectations. He recalled that while traveling with his two children, he realized that they were going to miss their connection to a flight out of Chicago due to a fire that had caused delays. While in the air, Silberberg began tweeting to the airline about his problem, and instead of providing rebooking details, the organization did something surprising.
Silberberg said that American Airlines asked for his flight number and requested that the plane be held for him and his children. Had he not tweeted the company, he would have arrived late and the plane would have been gone. Instead, when Silberberg's and his family raced to the gate, the agent said he had been waiting for them to get there.
This move may seem risky, but it paid off: American Airlines not only helped someone in a tricky situation, but the company got the benefit of Silberberg's praise as well. While not every client will be able to publish his or her experience on a major news website, word of mouth is still extremely valuable. People buy products and services based on others' opinions, and incredible actions like those taken for Silberberg are very motivational.
The Harvard Business Review recently noted that one great customer service tactic is to empower employees to "wow" customers despite what processes may already be established. When staff members are able to occasionally pull strings, their efforts will be rewarded with the loyalty and passion of their customers. The source also stated that poor experiences tend to be even more powerful than those that go smoothly, meaning that high performance is crucial.
Interactive, people-focused customer service training gives workers the ability to think on their feet and make the best decisions. In today's competitive business world, leaders need to give their staff members the skills and freedom to make a strong impression.