When I was on vacation earlier this summer with my family, I noticed a certain direct correlation: the better we were treated by the staff, the more money we spent. It confirmed to me how important it is to make sure you treat your customers well.
We visited Wine Country in Sonoma, California. We traveled around the countryside to different vineyards with tasting rooms. It was a fantastic experience, and you envision wine tasting to be nothing but relaxing. What can go wrong? Full disclosure, we never had a BAD experience, but we found a significant difference in the levels of customer service.
8 Customer Service Best Practices
Here are eight tips from my observations on how you can be aware of your attitude and offer better customer service.
1) ATTITUDE. You should never prejudge whether a client can afford your product or service. Be respectful and treat everyone the same.
2) ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. If a client comes in or calls on the phone, let them know you are aware of them. If you are busy with another customer, let them know that you will be with them shortly.
3) UNDER PROMISE AND OVER DELIVER. You can wow your clients by setting reasonable expectations and at least meeting them or, even better, beating them.
4) LISTEN. Be aware of what your client likes or dislikes. It is important to listen in order to find out what their pain points are so they will be likely to buy from you.
5) BE HONEST. If you don’t know the answer, simply say: “That is a great question, may I find out and circle back?”
6) FOLLOW UP. If you promise a quote, an answer, or anything, follow through. Do not drop the ball.
7) BE FRIENDLY. Try to find a way to relate to new clients. Be sure to ask about their kids, their favorite football team, something to lighten the mood.
8) DISTRACTIONS. I can’t think of a bigger pet peeve than someone checking his or her phone in the middle of a conversation. Be sure to shut off all distractions when meeting with a client. This way they know you are focused on them. If you must take a phone call, be careful to explain the reason, otherwise shut off your phone.
It Pays — Literally — to Deliver Top Customer Service
As we were traveling to different wine venues, we noticed how the wait staff treated us. We became aware that our purchases were higher based on the level of customer service we were provided by the staff. We also became very aware of staff that was simply going through the motions and watching the clock. When we had this experience we found that we didn’t buy anything and left annoyed.
The photo below shows us visiting a winery that did something unique. They did not charge the typical tasting fee of $20 per glass. Instead, they offered free tastings. They insisted we have our own glass and even offered food! Our wine server focused on our group, making sure our visit was extra special. By the time we were finished, credit cards were flying around as we bought up wine, olive oil, cheese, chocolates — and joined their wine club. In fact, our group spent the most money at this venue.
Even as the wine glow wore off, our smiles remained. We remember those who gave us great customer service. That is important because we plan to return to the places we had a good experience and treated us well. We will also share recommendations for the best places we visited.
Be sure to keep these tips in mind when you are having a rough day. You could be missing out on business because of the vibe you give off. And you could lose more than one sale — remember that people like to share their experiences, both bad and good. So keep it positive, have fun, and always give great customer service!