Why Providing Excellent Customer Service, “Customer Delight”, is a Selling Tool Every Member of Your Staff Must Use
Yesterday I was talking to the new owner of a hotel about the importance of setting up a room to delight the guest upon arrival. The conversation started as a discussion about upselling during the booking process: offering add-ons like champagne and chocolates, a “welcome pack”, etc. which the guest pays for, but is also likely to add to the satisfaction of the guest when first entering the room.
A good hotel knows how to delight you from the moment you arrive on the premises through to check-out and if they are really doing it right after you’ve returned home. With the rise of social media as a communication tool as well as a selling tool, these little “touches” have become very important for the hospitality industry as now it’s likely that the guest will snap a picture and post with wonderful comments on their social media channels, tagging the business, a form of virtual word of mouth referral that stays online for a long time and spreads as far as the guest’s friends’ reach and as far as the hotel’s followers’ reach after it is shared.
Social media boosts aside, excellent customer service is a powerful selling tool that is applicable to any kind of business not just those in the hospitality industry, because it builds trust and relationships with your customers, ensuring repeat business and increasing other opportunities.
Grove Collaborative, where I purchase my cleaning products on a monthly basis, is a good example of how to use excellent service to build a loyal customer base and increase sales. They not only write personal cheerful notes on the outside of each package I receive, but they offer friendly helpful customer service and have quickly and effectively responded to any issue that I have had.
- They have an automated help system, but also easy to use personal assistance by live chat or phone during office hours.
- They offer a recurring service for items needed on a regular basis, but it is very flexible and easy to update.
- The customer service staff understand the products and know how to use them so you can get advice when needed.
- When a product has been defective, they have provided refunds and/or replacements at no additional cost to me.
The key to Grove’s ability to provide excellent customer service is not only friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff but also the mandate to provide this high level of service to customers and the systems in place to give staff the ability to provide this level of service on a consistent basis.
In September 2019, Grove announced that the value of the company has surpassed $1 Billion and that a key area of investment is “Infrastructure + Customer Connection.” “Each week, nearly 50,000 customers chat, email, text, and talk with Grove Guides who answer questions and provide education on natural products. To build even deeper connections with customers and broaden its emphasis on conversational commerce, the company plans to double the Grove Guide team, adding more than 100 new employees within this vertical.”
How Your Business Can Ensure Excellent Customer Service
- Ownership and Senior Management must be the starting point in determining that a high level of customer service is going to be an important part of the business with a sufficient budget of funds and time allocated to developing and maintaining the skills and systems required.
- New staff recruited based on past experience in providing a high level of service and demonstration of understanding of its importance to the overall performance of the business.
- Internal customer service must also be deemed important and encouraged between ownership and staff members of all levels, as well as with partners, i.e. suppliers, distributors, etc.
- Customer service training should be provided with an atmosphere of continuous improvement, with feedback a natural part of the day to day business.
- Customer service should be an important part of performance evaluation and compensation, including bonuses and other rewards for specific occurrences of excellent customer service.
Excellent Customer Service for B2C versus B2B
When I was CIO of accountancy firm O’Mahony Donnelly I initially used Podio, project management and collaboration application, just to manage the firm’s projects, but because the system was so customizable and user friendly, even for accountants to use, we ended up using the system to manage all administrative aspects of the firm. The ability to do this, without a significant investment in software development, was based in part by the excellent support and service provided by the Podio team, so good that at times I felt like part of their team.
One day a package arrived for me announcing that I had been selected as Podio’s “Hero of the Month,” an initiative to solidify customer loyalty and satisfaction. This kind of relationship-building does keep customers loyal and turns them into evangelists.
In a B2B setting, excellent customer service equates to building strong relationships with your contacts, who become loyal evangelists, ensuring continued, and perhaps increased, sales to that business, other businesses these contacts deal with and the businesses that any of these contacts may move on to work with in the future.
- Does your business focus on providing excellent customer service?
- Is excellent customer service part of your overall marketing and sales strategy?
- What can you do today to bring about more Customer Delight internally and externally?