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Maintaining a Standard of Excellent Service

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Diploma in Customer Service
Providing Excellent Customer Service
Maintaining a Standard of Excellent Service

Maintaining a Standard of Excellent Service
In the previous unit we learned how to create a culture of excellent service in an organization.

Once that culture has been established it is important that management takes steps to ensure that level of excellence is maintained.

A standard of excellence can be maintained in a company in the following ways:

Utilising the five P’s to preserve customer loyalty.

Providing your customers with details.

Using customer complaints as an opportunity for renewing customer loyalty.

Preparation is key to maintaining a standard of excellent customer service and preserving customer loyalty.

You must be prepared to take care of your customers better than anyone else can or will. If every customer you work with is impressed at how knowledgeable you are, they'll tell others.

If you are able to help them get what they want every time without fail and without hesitation, they'll come back.

For you to be prepared to help anyone, you need to learn and understand a mountain of information. To do so effectively you should utilise a
method known as the Five P's of Customer Service.

The Five P's of Customer Service
The five P's provide an easy way to group everything you need to know about your company.

They help you sort and organize the many things you should understand about your company so you can help your customer better than anyone else.

The five P's of customer service are:
Products and Services

1. People
Nobody can do everything on their own. We all need help from others to do our jobs the best we can. That's why teams are so important.

The more people you know in your company (not just on your team) the better you will be able to serve your customers. Get to know people throughout your company. Make sure you know people at all levels and on every team, in every department.

Having good relationships with people in every department can help you cut through red tape and get right to the answers you need as you work to help your customers.

2. Products and Services
You need to know your products and services. You need to know their features, benefits, prices, and competing products. You also need to know what problems they solve or what opportunities they can help create. The more you know about all your company's products, the better you can suggest and advise your customers.

A great way to get to know your products is through customer application examples. Collect stories about how your company's customers have used its products to meet their needs.

Document these examples so anyone in your company can use them. This information is valuable and will help you do more for your customers than anyone else.

3. Policies
Your company's policies tell you what you can and cannot do for your customers. They give you boundaries.

Knowing your company's policies can save your customers time. Some things simply cannot be done. If you know this upfront, you can help your customer understand what you can and cannot do.

Other policies might be flexible. If you are aware of where the rules can be bent, you can help your customers have a more realistic expectation of how you can help them. You can show them you're working for them and maybe prevent them from being disappointed.

4. Procedures
It's almost impossible to help a customer if you do not understand how your company does things. Procedures are the life blood of a business because they tell us how to get things done.

And, if things are not working well, established procedures provide a place to start to fix the problem.

Know all you can about the procedures your company uses to deliver its products and services. Only then can you help your customers navigate the maze and get what they want.

5. Places
If your company has more than one location, you need to know about it. Sometimes, different locations are similar, as with retail stores.
Often they have different functions, such as a warehouse and a showroom.

Either way, you should know about every location your company has and what they do at each one.

Find out how each location plays a part in helping your company deliver its products and services. Then you can put that knowledge to work as you help your customers.

As you increase your company knowledge across these five categories, you'll find that your confidence and credibility grows.

More people will come to you for answers because you'll be able to help them.

You'll become the “go to” person others look to for help. And, you'll find more customers want to work with you because you're able to help them get what they want better than anyone else. That's how you keep customers coming back.

Provide Your Customers With Details
One of the best ways to keep your customers coming back is by providing them with details.

The more specific you are, the more your customers will appreciate your efforts. When you offer customers details, you're telling them you are willing to be thorough and complete as you help them.

And you're telling them you know what you’re doing. Details give you credibility.
Think of details like this. If you sit down in a restaurant, look at the menu and notice there are no prices, how does that make you feel? Does it make you want to stay? Or would you rather have the prices on the menu so you know what your options are? Of course, in most restaurants, we expect prices on the menu. But many people in many businesses leave their customers wondering on a regular basis without ever giving it a second thought.

Often people's voice mail says: “I'll call you back as soon as possible” but that says you’re focused on your schedule, your needs and your priorities. A better approach would be to tell callers when you will be returning calls or offer them another way to reach you.

There are many ways we can serve our customers better by offering them more details, more specifics and more help. This means more work but it's worth it. People don't like wondering or wandering. If your service prevents them from doing either, they'll come back more often.

Using Customer Complaints to Renew Customer Loyalty
Although a customer complaining may initially seem like a negative reflection on the company it is an opportunity to provide excellent customer service.

When customers contact a company with a complaint they are speaking to someone who is trained to represent the company and maintain its standards of customer service.

Following a positive experience with a customer service representative a customer can feel appreciated and more loyal to the company than ever before.

Click on the steps below to learn how to utilize customer complaints as an opportunity for renewing customer loyalty.

Listen Completely
Give them your complete attention. Don't multi-task. Don't “half-listen”.

Write down what they are telling you and get specifics from them. Then confirm that you understand. Focus only on them.

Let Them Vent
Don't interrupt. Don't explain, defend or justify.

They don't care why the problem occurred and they don't want your side of the story.

They are angry and they want to vent, so let them.

This is often hard especially if you did not cause the problem.

When you apologize in this situation you are not necessarily taking blame for causing the problem.

You are apologizing for the customer having a bad experience. Put yourself in their shoes. Be sincere

Ask Them How You Can Make Things Right and Then Do More
Too many employees have either no response to complaints or a generic, stock response, like taking money off the bill. But that risks making the customer even more angry if that's not what they want done. In fact you might even offend someone by offering them a discount.

A better strategy is to ask them what they want. You have to be genuine and polite. Most people don't want much. They usually just want you to listen. But whatever they say always do it and more.

If they ask for their meal free your response might be “Mr. Smith, of course your meal tonight is on the house. But I'd also like to buy you and your family dinner the next time you join us. Would that be okay?”

Assure Them You’ll Fix the Problem
Because you listened and you confirmed their complaint you know why they are upset.

Take the next step and assure them you will take action to see it does not happen again.

Otherwise, why would they come back?

Thank Them
Because you listened and you confirmed their complaint you know why they are upset.

Take the next step and assure them you will take action to see it does not happen again.

Otherwise, why would they come back?

Maintaining a Standard of Excellent Service

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