Maintaining customer service standards when busy
Here’s my second article related to customer service during the Christmas Season. If you’re busy in the weeks leading up to Christmas, or over Christmas and New Year itself I’ve written this with you in mind.
But if you want to maintain your customer service standards, most of the points are equally applicable to any business at any time of year when you expect to be busy or you experience peaks of activity.
So, whether you’re a hospitality, leisure or retail or business already in the thick of Christmas activity, a professional services business who knows everyone leaves things to the last minute to get repairs, renewals or returns done on time to meet end of year deadline, or a health and wellness business anticipating a flurry of activity as a result of New Year’s resolutions – here are a few things to bear in mind to continue to meet your customer’s expectations.
7 ways to maintain your customer service standards
- First impressions count. Remember, when you’re busy, many of these customers may be coming to your business for the very first time, so don’t let the volume of customers be an excuse to let customer service standards drop. Create a memorable first impression and a reason for them to return.
- Avoid damaging your reputation with your loyal regulars by lowering your standards of customer service just because you are busy. Your regulars don’t care! Busy or not, whether it’s Christmas and you’re rushed off your feet, or your staff are taking time off, your customers expect consistency. Don’t disappoint.
- Most customers accept that things can go wrong from time to time. But, they are far more understanding if they’re forewarned. Keep the customer informed of the situation and give them options. Customers will appreciate your honesty which helps maintain trust and keep your customers loyal.
- Avoid disappointments. When you know something is unavailable give customers as much notice as possible – through your website, when booking or enquiring, prior to travel or on arrival – to minimise disappointment. But, offer customers choice and alternatives. Being kept informed is not about making excuses! It’s about honesty so the customer can make an informed decision.
- If something they’ve asked for isn’t available; will be it be available later or not at all? What’s the alternative? What can you offer that might be as good as or even better? Take the opportunity to introduce your customers to something they haven’t tried before, or something that could be classed as an ‘upgrade’ (at no additional cost to them, of course). It’s a perfect opportunity to let your customer experience something over and above what they were expecting, so enhance their perception of customer service and value for money.
- Don’t over commit. Ensure your team are able to offer suggestions and recommendations, and that they’re fully aware of what is feasible, and what’s not a practical proposition when you’re busy, so they don’t make commitments you can’t deliver.
- Even out the workload. For example, if you know that you’re likely to be busy at certain times of the day, make every effort to let your customers know this. If you let them know when the quieter times are, this not only helps them, it potentially evens out the peaks and troughs for you too, enabling you to maintain customer service standards.
So whether your busy season is Christmas, the January sales, or sizzling summer days, the same customer service principles still apply…