Issue No. 54 - August/September 2010
Eight Ps of customer service
by Craig Stubing
It may seem unusual for a person like me, with a particular interest in sales, to be writing on the topic of customer service. However, from my point of view it is entirely legitimate – to be effective in an SME the customer service people (person) must work in harmony with the salespeople (person).
By working in harmony they make each other’s job easier and look after their customers better. If there is disharmony they make life unnecessarily difficult for each other – and the customer suffers, as does the business.
Consider, for example, how rash promises made by salespeople can affect the business’s chance of meeting service expectations. On the other hand consider the effect on repeat sales of poor customer service.
With those thoughts in mind let me share my eight Ps of customer service.
Always take the time to listen to your customer so you really understand them and their wants. This means being prepared to ask ‘clarifying’ questions and listening carefully to the answers you get. It means not making assumptions.
Especially it means always taking the time to explain things properly (using plain English not technical jargon).
It’s not always easy to do this especially if you’re under pressure but if you’re patient with customers it’s easier to get it right first time.
People like to do business with pleasant people. Remember also that pleasantness is infectious (as is unpleasantness).
This means treating your customers as you would like to be treated. It also means clearing your mind of any niggling irritations (perhaps you got a speeding ticket on the way to work) so that you can maintain your pleasantness even though you don’t feel particularly pleasant.
Another point: some of your customers will be unpleasant people. Don’t try to fight fire with fire – their money is as good as anyone else’s.
This is about manners; li...