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VOL. 131 | NO. 53 | Tuesday, March 15, 2016




Keeping Customer Service up to PAR: Plan, Act, Review

By Bob McBride

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BOB McBRIDE

Delivering quality service is vital to ensuring repeat business from loyal customers. Customer service is fluid, changing not only from industry to industry but also from business to business within each industry. However, whether you’re a restaurant manager or hardware store operator, or you work in the industrial sector, some things never change when it comes to quality service. 

Reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy and accountability are the pillars that customer service delivery is founded on, regardless of industry or organization. If customers do not feel that their problems are being addressed, they are likely to take their business elsewhere, leaving a breadcrumb trail of bad reviews on the way to the next vendor they select. 

Think of customer service like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the easier and more habitual it is to use. Also, it’s important to have a routine in place to be able to maintain a strong culture of quality customer service.  

1. Plan. Set procedures to proactively identify service issues, such as quality audits, and address them quickly and completely when they do surface. Addressing a problem and providing a solution before the customer comes to you speaks to your business’s integrity, something that all customers value.

2. Act. After identifying a potential issue, sound the ALARM: Apologize, leap into action, ask for insight advice, refuse to argue and make amends. Acknowledge the problem, investigate it and remember that taking ownership is not a sign of weakness. People make mistakes, and your reaction to those just may strengthen your customer relationship. Having an established system for delivering good service ensures consistency in your customer interactions and relationships. However, when delivering customer support, the most important thing is to resolve the issue so that the customer’s expectations are met.

3. Review. Revisit service issues internally once they are taken care of with the customer. After the problem is resolved, examine internal procedures for places where improvements can be made to prevent a recurrence. If procedures are already in place to prevent the problem but were not followed, consider the circumstances and identify what action is needed to ensure that the issue does not happen again.

So, while customer service delivery can look different across businesses and industries, it should be regarded as an equally important focus for all organizations. A commitment to quality service will not only welcome new customers but also keep them coming back for many years to come. After all, we’re all customers at one point, so we should expect to deliver the same level of service that we would like to receive. 

Bob McBride is the president and CEO of State Systems Inc.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 64 151 1,493
MORTGAGES 45 105 1,152
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 5 19 209
BUILDING PERMITS 201 410 3,466
BANKRUPTCIES 35 119 872
BUSINESS LICENSES 9 32 361
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0