Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Is the Customer still King?

Here's the scoop, persons are more likely to talk about a poor customer service encounter than they are to talk about one where the service expected was delivered. It is reasonable then to understand how very easily our customers are likely to have an impression of a generally poor customer service experience. Now while this may often be unfair, in any consumer driven business, perception is a “truth” worth knowing and acting on. Besides, to any degree that our customers may be under-served we must find it unacceptable.

 According to the Online Business Dictionary, a customer is considered as any “party that receives or consumes products (goods or services) and has the ability to choose between different products and suppliers.” Every person with whom we interact or conduct business on a daily basis is a customer.

Grace Carr-Benjamin, Director of Library Services at NCU extends courtesy to a telephone client (File photo)

Henry Ford’s famous quotation provides quite a mouthful to chew on, “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages”. As service contact personnel we should endeavour to give exceptional service to every one of our customers, not only because they pay our wages (in reality they do) but because we understand their value to our business.

Here’s how we can do this via the telephone:
  • Answer the telephone promptly and with a smile. Whether or not you believe it, the caller can hear that smile in your voice and it will make a world of a difference.
  • Route the caller to the appropriate destination, when necessary, via soft transfer (i.e. speaking to someone at the extension contacted before releasing the call). Callers who dial an incorrect extension expect to be given the correct extension and transferred directly to the relevant person as well.
  • Ask the caller’s permission to place him/her on hold before doing so and try not to exceed the two-minute hold time.
  • Forward calls to another worker/Department in your absence so callers can be accommodated accordingly.
  • Pickup co-workers’ calls in their absence and take a message or attempt to assist the caller, when possible.
  • A missed telephone call could be a missed opportunity to gain a customer. Be sure to return the call if possible.
Henry Ford Quotes.

Article by Louise Brown, Administrative Assistant, Office of the Provost, NCU