Training & Development

Make customer service your mantra

70 percent of customers hit the road, not because of price or product quality issues, but because they did not like the human side of doing business with the provider

Bob Murphy led a session on Oct. 13 about creating a culture of great customer service for Studer Community Institute.

When things go well, it’s easy to offer great customer service.

When something doesn’t go well, when the service, system or experience breaks down, it’s hard.

But delivering a great customer experience in these times is critical to your own success — and the success of your business or organization.

Up to 70 percent of customers hit the road, not because of price or product quality issues, but because they did not like the human side of doing business with the provider of the product or service.

Other research tells us that 45 percent of these customers said they switched to another company because the attention they did receive was poor in quality.

That was the message from the Studer Community Institute’s training and development series featuring Bob Murphy at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola.

Murphy’s session was “The Foundations of Great Customer Service and What to do When You Drop the Ball.”

Murphy’s professional career includes a stint nursing, hospital administration, and 10 years speaking for Studer Group. He is now president of Sacred Heart Medical Group and Providence Medical Group.

The changes that can help you make that leap are simple, but not easy.

“Change the tone of the conversation with your staff and you change the tone of the conversation with your customers,” Murphy said.

One of the most important skills you can develop is the ability to understand and effectively respond to the customer’s needs and concerns.

Companies known for outstanding service built a culture in which everyone in the organization understands and embraces the role of serving the customer.

Because we create our culture, we can change it.

“That means, nobody gets a free pass,” Murphy said. “The standards are higher the more responsibility you have.”

A key to making this work is creating clear standards of behavior that everyone is invested in and everyone works to live.

“If you assume people know what you expect, they’re going to let you down,” Murphy said.

Just having the list of standards is not enough. You have read them, talk about them, highlight when someone does them well, and reinforce them every day in multiple ways, Murphy said.

And have every employee sign it.

The next category of skill: Hiring service-oriented people.

Using behavioral based interviewing questions and peer interviews are two tools that can help you select people who are a good fit for your culture.

— When you decide to make a change, focus only on one or two things max. As Murphy noted, the chances of being successful are greater if you focus on one or two things.

— Try the concept of a pre- or post-visit call to the customer. They can be a good tool to find missed opportunities, harvest recognition for the staff, and build customer loyalty.

— Know your customer’s “what” — what do they want most out of the experience or sale. Rounding — asking purposeful, specific questions of customers or clients — can be a good tool to learn more about your customer’s “what.”

— Use AIDET (Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explain, Thank You) to help customers feel welcomed, comfortable and confident in your ability.

— When you must say no, find a way to say yes to something else.