6 Steps to Improving Customer Service
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By Joanne Jeffries
In today’s competitive environment, customer service has to be of the highest quality. A facilities manager has numerous functions within their own organization, for example a facilities manager who is responsible for catering within the office should consider all employees that eat in the restaurant as their customers.
Quality customer service needs to be the norm and these six steps provide a good framework to delivering excellent customer service.
Step 1: Actively listen
All too often, facility managers and companies pay lip service to what customers are actually telling them. This should be a subjective exercise – talking to customers, getting their ideas and feedback – as well as an objective exercise, collecting data and making judgments on hard facts.
Step 2: Open up feedback channels
From listening on social media to direct contact by and with customers, have as many ‘listening channels’ as you can. This not only helps to understand what your customers want, but what others are saying in the industry.
Step 3: Train your staff (and keep it up!)
Customer service constantly changes and so training from 10 or even two years ago is no longer relevant. Excellent customer service should be part and parcel of ongoing staff development and training. This means ensuring that all individuals who are customer facing are trained appropriately.
Step 4: Not a one-off activity
Customer service should be a continuous coaching activity, with everyone constantly thriving to deliver his or her absolute best in customer service. No one is excluded, from senior management to front-of-house staff and beyond.
Step 5: ASK your customers what they think/want/need
It can be daunting asking for feedback, especially when you hear the opposite of what you want to hear! Staying in touch with customers, checking what they want and need is key to propelling mediocre customer service to an excellent standard.
Step 6: Measure your results
You may ask a question but you do you take note of the answer? Do you have an overview of what your customers are asking for? When you act on these suggestions, you should also monitor how well these changes are being accepted, as well as their impact on your service delivery.
Customer service is not something that should be left to chance. It should be an on-going training activity and one placed firmly at the forefront of the service that you offer. The role of a facilities manager often involves delivering services to employees, albeit this may be done indirectly via subcontractors. Regardless of the service delivery method, it is imperative that you ensure excellent customer service is delivered. Frameworks for success are discussed further in the FMP course.