CAN FACE TO FACE BE REPLACED?

Are we in the commercial world paying heed and learning any lessons from what is occurring in the retail space? The digital age has certainly had an impact on how we communicate, but we cannot afford to let this affect how we relate to our clients. The fundamentals of good customer service remain constant.MBFinal

I, like many of you, am an avid online shopper and it’s true, I confess I have aided and abetted the downfall of the retail industry. With the rise of the digital age, online shopping became a very attractive, “from the comfort of my own home”, service.  This is a strange thing because I used to LOVE the whole sensory experience of physical shopping, now the thought of it sends shivers down my spine.

So why did my love affair wane? Was it the appeal of all hours shopping? The convenience of shopping in pyjamas or on the bus? Or was it the possibility of new products from afar? It actually wasn’t any of these things, it was the distinct and utter lack of care and service I felt as the customer in the retail environment.

Now, I am certainly not the first to feel this way or comment on the decline of customer service. Poor attitudes of retail staff, lack of product knowledge, a decline in product quality and often a short supply of on hand staff have all been identified as key factors in the disgruntlement of shoppers.

Are we in the commercial world doing the same and losing our customer/client base?  What are some of the key principles that you feel are imperative to great customer service?  Do any of the below resonate with you?

Listen. Understand. Care.

Listen not just hear, really open your ears and your mind to what your customer is saying. Take time to understand them as a person, their organisation and their goals, this will help you to better understand what they truly need and how you can help them. Care about your client; take a sincere interest in their role, their project and their outcomes.

Provide the type of service you would want to receive

Think about the last time you experienced bad service in a restaurant/store. You probably came away and told many people about this experience. Now, what do your customers say about you and your service?  Are you personable, approachable and responsive and trying to anticipate their needs?  Good customer service never goes out of style!

Know your Product

Your customer wants to feel confident in you and your product. Demonstrating that you understand your product and how it will work for your client is one of the simplest ways to gain their trust. Ensure that you yourself know how your product will benefit your client before you try to convince them.

At the end of the day we all exist because our customers choose to do business with us.  With a simple aim to make every interaction a positive experience and to thank them for their business, you can begin to build that great customer service experience.

So all in all, there are many similar principles between what makes a good customer service experience and the management of a good client relationship.  So what works for you in building and maintaining a good client relationship?  Share your experiences with us; we are always interested in learning.

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