Achieving Customer Service Excellence - Part 2
This is my second article on achieving customer service excellence. If you didn’t get a chance to read the first one, visit my website FabriCoach.com and look under NEWS (https://www.fabricoach.com/news).
In that first article, I discussed how customer service should be a part of your business philosophy. What level of service do you strive to deliver? Basic, good, or excellent? Does your level of service distinguish your operation in your market? Or are you just like the plant down the street?
Think of a business that delivers legendary service. What hotel chains come to mind? What restaurants? What cruise lines? How do they achieve the level of customer service excellence that makes them legendary? Well, certainly it starts with a business philosophy, but it takes so much more!
CUSTOMER SERVICE: JOB OR SKILL?
I think the answer is “both!” Customer service is simply providing service to the customers before, during and after a purchase. Of course, the product or service must meet the customer’s expectations, and the customer’s interactions with your team will determine the level of their satisfaction. These activities and interactions are touch points. Touch points can add value and impact the customer’s experience. A service breakdown can occur at any touch point. In your dry cleaning operation, every employee has touch points with the customer even if they never have a face-to-face encounter with the customer. How can that be you ask?
The back-of-the-house team members can impact the quality of the service by knowing more about the “story” of each garment and the customer’s expectations. For example, it’s very helpful to know about specific stains and combination of stains. A coffee stain is one thing, but coffee with crème and sugar is another challenge. Another example is garment finishing preferences: No creases means just that: no creases. Replacing buttons, repairing zippers, seams, or hems, and the list goes on.
Lastly, it’s very important for those processing a garment to know if it has been returned for some “re-work.” It’s one thing to fail at service once; it’s another thing to fail a second time.
So really, every job in your cleaning operation is a customer service job — not just the team members at the front counter.
Someone asked me if people are born with good customer service skills or do they learn how to deliver customer service excellence. I believe that some people do have a natural affinity and personality for customer service, and I believe that customer service skills can be taught.
What are the skills one needs in order to deliver customer service excellence? Helpful, caring, and courteous come to mind, followed by patient, respectful, and positive attitude. Those with direct, frequent customer contact, need to learn how to communicate clearly, effectively, and empathetically. They will need good listening and problem-solving skills. They will need to understand your business philosophy for service recovery, and they need to be able to execute in such a way that the customer feels good about both the interaction during service recovery as well as the resolution of the service failure. Many of these are things that can be taught, and if reinforced through accountability, they become habits making consistent customer service delivery second nature to the employee. Wait… did I mention, the plant manager will need to role model these same customer service skills and behaviors? They must lead by example!
THE VALUE OF TEAMWORK
You can hire for some of these customer service skills, and FabriCoach LLC can help you coach your team to deliver customer service excellence. It will take teamwork! From the front-of-the-house to the back-of-the-house, your employees must work together, communicate, and be committed to customer service excellence!
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 programs designed for all facets of the industry including Stain Removal, Professional Finishing, Wetcleaning, Technical SOILutionsSM, and more.