Achieving Customer Service Excellence - Part 1
Those experiences paid off, and I continued to build my knowledge while working for R. R. Street. For over 25 years, I was fortunate
to learn from experts in the industry, and I became proficient in
stain removal, wetcleaning, drycleaning chemistry, sales, manage-
ment and a host of other skills. I am now taking those lessons and
sharing them through my own consulting business: FabriCoach,
LLC. In this article, I want to share what I have learned about
DEFINING CUSTOMER SERVICE
What is customer service? Is it a job? Is it a skill? Should it be part
of a business philosophy and strategy? I believe the answers to
those questions are: “Yes!”
Let’s start with why customer service should be part of your busi-
ness philosophy. A simple definition of business philosophy is “the
fundamental principles that underlie business operations and de-
fine the nature and purpose of your business.” Your philosophy
is exhibited in the products and services you deliver. Customer
service should be a part of your business philosophy and should
identify what level of service you want to deliver. Some sources
describe levels of service as basic, good, and world class, while
others cite basic, expected, and unbelievable.
Whatever label you use, I believe there are levels where the customer expects certain services, quality, and treatment, and there
is a level where you anticipate and fulfill unexpressed needs of a
customer. Phrases like “above and beyond,” “the extra mile,” and
“exceed expectations” apply. The idea is that you give the cus-
tomer what they expect and more!
As a business owner or operator, what level of service does your
business deliver? How does that level of service tie to your philos-
ophy? More importantly, what is the level of service expected by
your customers? Do you strive to exceed their expectations? And,
how does your service compare with your competition? Those are
questions you must answer for yourself.
If you decide that your business philosophy or your market only
require you to meet customer expectations, you must still strive
to do that every single time. However, if you decide you want to
exceed those expectations, again, you must strive to do so consis-tently.
From the time customers walk in the door to drop off their
order until the time they walk out the door after picking it up, their
experience must be consistent.
How do you consistently deliver your target level of customer ser-
vice? You build a business strategy with tactics to support your-
business philosophy. Aren’t strategy and tactics the same thing?
No, strategy is “what” and tactics are “how and who.” It’s just that
simple: what do I need to do in my business in order to achieve
the target level of service consistently, how will I do it, and who
will do it?
Here are some ideas, but you may need to modify them to fit your
business philosophy. Set your service standards related to the
quality of the product and the customer experience. One important
part of your standards is how your team will handle service
recovery. Let’s face it, even the best operations miss their targets
from time to time. How we handle those “misses” will impact
the customer’s perception of the company and their willingness to
repeat business. You need to hire and train your employees to consistently deliver your target level of customer service, give them
the tools and resources they need to do the job, and empower them.
THE VALUE OF TEAMWORK
Another key to achieving your customer service target is team-
work. From the front of the house to the back of the house, your
employees must work together and communicate as a team. Most
teams need a coach, and that is where FabriCoach can help you. I
use a team-based approach to training.
Attend my educational session, “The Team Approach to Building Customer Service Excellence,” at various events. Or, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about on-site customer service skills. I also have program designed for all facets of the industry including Stain Removal, Professional Finishing, Wetcleaning, Technical SOILutionsSM, and more.
Stay tuned for future articles on customer service from