Customer Relationship Management
When I entered the company I worked for as a commercial manager and trainer during 18 years, its ideals really echoed mines.
Our priorities were :
- the customer
- the company
- the people working there.
These words never left me : improving your customer relationship management requires to always balance the interests of these three groups.
In this first article, I'll give you a few tips to improve your customer satisfaction.
In my next articles, I'll tell you about the power of empathy and how to deal with a critical situation.
The managers will also find some helpful tips to motivate their staff better.
- Always Focus on Customer
Without customer, your company wouldn't exist, right ? You would tell me "Of course ! That's why I'm reading an article on how to improve my customer relationship management". It seems obvious.
So, you never have been totally ignored in a shop ?
You never have seen in your company some attitudes you wouldn't have accepted in another service ?
Think about it for a while...
You never arrived when your colleague was reading the newspaper or playing crossword while waiting for customers ?
You have never been surprised by a customer you didn't noticed because you were talking with your team ?
Seems a little familiar ?
It seems not so disturbing while we are involved in, but what about the customer ? Don't you think that some attitudes can create a prejudice in the mind of your customer ?
Sometimes, we just forget how the first seconds are important. Never forget : "We never have a second chance to create a first good feeling again."
That's why it's very important to create the perfect atmosphere to make the customer feels good.
It can be through flowers, decorations, paintings...
But the most beautiful place will lose all its charms if your attitude is not the right one.
Your customer really has to feel as if he's the one you were waiting for, that he is really special and most than welcome.
You remember his name ? Greet him with a big "Hello Sir ..." and a smile.
You exchanged several emails before he arrives ? Tell him how much you're happy to finally meet him.
You even don't know him ? Never mind ! Just smile with a positive and open attitude and you'll have pass the first test.
In another article, I'll give you some other tips to develop your communication skills. But for now, don't forget that a customer can appear anytime, and you have to be prepared with the right attitude to make the first feeling a success.
- Always Adopt a Continuous Improvement Approach.
A perfect way to continuously improve your communication skills is to use your customer experience !
As a customer, you experience some other services. Benefit these contacts to observe the good and bad practices.
My last experience was with my favourite airline company, Qatar Airways, this morning. I called them for the reservation of my next trip to India. All of their customer service agents were busy but I had a great waiting experience. Why ? First, because they made me wait ! I didn't have the usual message we have in France : "all our commercial agents are busy. Please, call again." Instead, I had this message : "Your call is important for us. Please, hold on." I didn't have either these tense messages each minute : "your waiting time is estimated at about 5 minutes". Sometimes, while you were supposed to wait only one minute more, you hear again "your waiting time is estimated at about 6 minutes." And here you're qualified for one more round !!! As a customer service, you have to know your average waiting time. But it's totally useless and irritating for your customer. With Qatar Airways I had a lot of useful informations and tips for my next trip while waiting and I even don't know how long I had to wait. It only didn't matter because I had a great customer experience ! Actually I always thought that this airline company has a very good customer relationship, even if from a flight to another the quality can be more and less high. This is also good for me, as I can balance the best and less good practices.
I tell you this experience to document my article. Just do the same : use your customer experience to detect the best practices and avoid the bad ones !
- Exchange with your colleagues, observe their work.
Your colleagues can have found some good practices. They unfortunately also can be very bad in their customer relationship. Observe their work, talk with them and use their best practices.
During your trainings, share your experience, good or wrong. It will help everybody to improve their skills and they will certainly have some other ideas to solve the situation. Don't forget that several brains working together generally produce a better work than one lonely one.
If you have a meeting, prefer to stay with some of the colleagues you don't regularly work with. The sharing experience will be more rich and you'll certainly discover a lot of good practices you didn't use in your own team.
To conclude, these are the things to remember if you want to improve your customer relationship management :
1. Always Focus on Customer.
Don't forget that some attitudes can immediately create a prejudice in the mind of your customer.
- The first seconds are very important to create a good feeling.
- Be prepared with the right attitude to make the first sight a success.
2. Always Adopt a continuous Improvement Approach.
- Use your customer experience to detect the good and bad practices.
3. Exchange with your colleagues, observe their work.
- Talk with them and re-use their best practices.
- Use your good and bad experience to make brainstorming during your trainings.
- As often as possible, talk with the colleagues of the other teams to find some new methods.
Ready ? Now it's your turn to share your experience and I'm very impatient to read you ! Did you use some of these methods before ? What did you learn from your experience ?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR : Stephanie Langlet has a 18 years experience of the Customer Relationship Management in the Travel industry. She's a free lance consultant making quality audit on their services for Travel Companies. Her solo traveller background also taugh her a lot on what travellers expect from the companies. She offers her service all around the world, for french or english-speaking companies.