4 Tips To Surpass Your Competitor’s Customer Service

1. Think about the factor that makes your offer unique.

Study the competition. Compare your customer service with what is offered by your customers. What can you give to your clients that is better than your competitor’s offering? There have to be some features of your service that you can endorse as “unique”.

At times, offering the service to your customers that stands out requires the expanding of your operations and at times it requires revamping.

If you offer a service that requires giving estimates of the work to be completed in advance, and in the past you have just provided estimates to potential clientele verbally, you could emphasize that you offer an estimate in written and follow your written estimate.

Now that you have listed down all possible service ideas that might be used to surpass the service offered by your customers, it is time to consider applying outstanding customer service.

2. Study the listed plans and look at their achievability.

Can you actually assure that you will follow your written estimate at all times or offer a quicker turnaround time as compared to your competitors? If you are not confident or think that you can not do it, eliminate it from your list.

3. Select one or two of your exceptional service ideas and put them into practice.

By putting your customer service ideas into practice also implies that you need to let people be on familiar terms with that you are doing it. Mark this feature of your customer service in all the advertisements you run, together with your yellow pages inventory. Place it on your business cards as well as in your email signature. Make it a component of your greeting lingo after you answer the phone.

You have to make your service a major aspect of every advertisement as well, so people repeatedly relate it with your product or service.

4) Continue to be positive and keep collecting service plans.

Pay attention to your clientele and note what type of unique service they would like to have. You can do this properly, through forming a customer satisfaction response form that you include with each deal or placement on your website, or unofficially, by inquiring them regarding customer service ideas when they are in your supermarket or place of work. Outstanding service provided to the customers is service that is quick to respond to clientele’s requirements.

Customer Service Tips: LAAF to Handle Complaints Part 1

As a customer, what do you expect when you find out that the product or service you paid for isn’t good? Would you prefer:

  1. As a customer, what do you expect when you find out that the product or service you paid for isn’t good? Would you prefer:
  2. Someone to listen to and understand your concern?
  3. A knowledgeable and polite employee who is empowered to make a decision and do something?
  4. Options to fix the problem?
  5. A quick resolution, as immediate as possible?
  6. An apology for your inconvenience or frustration?
  7. A refund for your purchase?
  8. Depending on the situation, some kind of compensation for your trouble?
  9. Follow-through on what is agreed to and promised?

Too often when customers try to get complaints addressed, they come in contact with overworked and underappreciated employees. These employees will listen but most often can’t make a decision and have to get a manager involved. Or, they are faced with the nightmarish task of finding how and where to file a complaint online. Often, they are put on hold or have to face an automated phone machine that can get frustratingly repetitive. Have you experienced any of this as a customer? How does this run around make you feel? Does it increase your purchases and loyalty to that company’s brand? Obviously not! Too many companies take their customers for granted thinking they will always be there no matter the circumstance.

Most complaints can be handled satisfactorily. Most customers don’t want to complain. Many are reasonable complainers. Our research shows that only 1 out of 20 people, who could complain, do complain. Most customers are silent complainers they do this instead:

  • Quit buying all together at the company.
  • Reduce their purchases and seek more pleasant alternatives.
  • Tell all of their friends and family about their troubles. Now with social media options any customer can reach millions of people through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others in a heartbeat.

This is a real opportunity for any company and employee. For the company, this means they need to aggressively seek complaints by asking for customer feedback through surveys, market research, person-to-person interactions and social media campaigns. The complaint you know about you can probably solve. It’s the many complaints you don’t know about that will hurt you.

Your Role in Handling Complaints

In this day and age we tell any person to be a student of the game. As we’ve mentioned continuously learning about how to do your job better can only benefit you. Read the books, watch the DVDs or online programs, attend seminars or Webinars. Whether you have company support or not, you must Inc. yourself. No matter what job you have you are ultimately in business for yourself. You don’t do the job for free. In order to advance in your career and make your money you have to excel. In your learning, keep finding ways to understand human behavior. Review the LAAF Model below as a way to handle 90% of the complaints you receive. It gives you a guide to think like a customer, and build empathy so you can solve the problem even more effectively.

L-listen

Pay attention, take notes, summarize key issues-“What I hear you saying is… “

A-apologize

“I am sorry that happened.” Or, “I apologize that we let you down. I know I can make it up to you.”

A-acknowledge

“Thank you for letting me know about this. I know this is an inconvenience to you.”

F-fix

“I have three potential options to fix the situation. But, can I ask a couple of questions first?”

Complaining customers are golden and will become more loyal, if you respond fast and appropriately. They are golden because they told you about a problem (Many customer don’t), and now you know how you or your company can improve. With this overview of LAAF you received the nuts and bolts that can help you be better. There are more details to learn so check out part 2, and continue your education. Kerry Stokes said, “The most important adage and the only adage is, the customer comes first, whatever the business, the customer comes first.”

Customer Service Tips – How to Handle Irate Customers

Are you ready to learn how to keep every guest happy? It starts with making sure that your managers are thoroughly trained in every position within your restaurant. They need to know all the jobs, so they can step in if someone calls off sick, or if sales are higher than expected.

The manager needs to be highly trained in excellent customer service. This type of service is called “wow” service because your customers will say “Wow!” about their experience at your restaurant.

One way to easily accomplish that “wow” experience is simply by telling your managers that every time they are in direct contact with any guest, that they are smiling, being friendly and attentive to the guests. If a famous person was coming to your restaurant, how would you treat that person? Every guest should be receive that same VIP treatment.

In case of a dissatisfied, angry, or irate customers, we recommend applying the GLAD technique. This will dramatically decrease customer related matters, and lead to customer recovery.

What is the GLAD Technique?

  1. Go to the guest
  2. Listen carefully to the guest
  3. Apologize to the guest
  4. Do what it takes to solve the problem

When approaching the upset customer, always shows genuine concern. It is important to listen to the guest without cutting them off. Make sure that you take the time to fully understand their concerns. Remain calm. Responding to anger in a calm manner may help reduce the person’s anxiety. Don’t be fake, be real.

Always apologize to the guest, even if the customer is wrong. Even when you are certain the person is wrong, go with the mindset that the person is right. Never offer excuses as to why the problem occurred, but offer solutions instead.

Solutions will vary depending on the complaint and the circumstances. Offer a solution and ask if this will meet the customer’s needs. Go above and beyond. Remember, one angry customer leads to other lost customers. Keep in mind that for each customer you lose, you will lose 11 customers within the next few weeks. That number will compound because those 11 people will also repeat what they heard from the first customer. Ultimately you could be losing hundreds of customers because of one dissatisfied customer. If the matter is serious, you could even lose your restaurant’s reputation, and the restaurant could end up being shut down.

Every customer that leaves your restaurant tells family, friends and co-workers about the experience at your restaurant. If the experience was mediocre they won’t say anything, but if it was very good experience at your restaurant they will tell others. If it was a negative experience and they walked out dissatisfied, then the reputation of your restaurant will be impacted. Negative feedback from your customers could mean the end of your business. Don’t underestimate the power of the word-of-mouth effect. Word-of-mouth will work with you or against you depending on the guest’s experience.

Do you really want to lose business because of customer complaints? Teaching effective customer service techniques to your managers and staff should be at the top of your to-do list.

Teach your managers to be proactive in preventing customer related matters. Manager presence in the dining room is a wonderful path to reduce customer complaints. The manager should spend at least 80% of his/her time in the dining room, and only 10% in the manager’s office.

The manager also needs to physically approach each customer’s table to ensure that WOW guest service is in effect. The manager also needs to learn how to detect negative body language and how to express positive body language.

How do customers show their dissatisfaction with their body language?

  • When you are in direct eye-to-eye contact, you can witness the anger in the customer’s eyes.
  • Seeing untouched food, especially when everybody at the table ate their food, except the one customer who barely touched his or her food.
  • The manager asks the customer, “So how was your meal and service tonight?” The customer replies, “It’s okay”. If the customer was fully satisfied with both the service and the meal they may say it was “terrific” or “great,” not just “okay.”
  • When you look at a guest and you get an uncomfortable “gut” feeling, act on that feeling.
  • You see a customer looking around as though they want someone to help them. You may even see them glaring at a server speaking with other customers.

What is your body language saying?

  • Always use direct eye contact when talking to your guests. Never look away while you are talking to your guest. Looking away gives the impression that you are not interested in what the other person has to say.
  • Never cross your arms when talking to guests, this could be interpreted as shutting them out or anger.
  • Never roll your eyes, as this is very disrespectful and it appears that you are belittling their concerns.
  • Constantly listen to the guest even if they are angry. It may help to allow the person to vent their anger. Always acknowledge their feelings.
  • Ask the customer what would improve the visit to your restaurant.

What do you do with Moody Customers?

This is your opportunity to turn around the customer’s mood from a bad to good. Make certain that you are on top of things and pay attention to details. If you have any concerns about their experience, you may even offer the table a free appetizer or dessert. It may seem like you are losing money by “giving away” food or “discounting” their meals; however, you will lose more money from each lost customer than you will for that one food item or meal. If you successfully turn things around, then you may create repeat business. Kindness and consideration of their needs will often overcome their anger.

A wise person said, “How you handle positive feedback is important, but it is more important to know how to handle negative feedback.” Make sure you tell the customers that you appreciate the fact that they took the time to tell you about their experience. Don’t make excuses, instead find solutions. Don’t disagree with the customer, even if you know the guest is wrong.

If you don’t learn from your mistakes, you are doomed to repeat them again and again.