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How to Use Customer Service As a Competitive Tool
A business can gain customer loyalty and support by out-competing businesses that offer similar products and services. In other words, a business can shore up sales by offering the highest level of customer service and then branding that level of quality with its company. The process is challenging and requires consistency, commitment and competence, but it can be done. Additional training may be necessary to ensure each member of the customer service team is operating from the same goals.
Train company representatives. Write out the specific requirements necessary for a company representative to achieve minimum customer service standards. Provide step-by-step instructions as well as resource materials and training classes.
Develop a messaging system that markets your company’s customer service policy. In-store messaging systems such as posters, videos and fliers offer instant communication about customer service policies. Radio, billboard and television advertisement space are also highly effective in educating existing and potential customers about store policies.
Brand your company as a leader in customer service. “Shop at ABC, where customer satisfaction is guaranteed,” is an example of a fictitious branding slogan. Develop your own slogan using wording that brands your company to a measurable level of customer service.
Seek customer feedback. Provide feedback collection tools including Internet, phone and in-store varieties. For example, provide a survey or blank cards so customers can offer feedback and suggestions. Offer customers a nominal prize or chance to enter a raffle for providing customer service feedback.
Offer real-world examples of your company’s competitive advantage. Strengthen marketing materials with stories from real customers recounting memorable customer service experiences. Alternately, introduce polling numbers -- from an unbiased poll taker -- to demonstrate your company’s favorability rating among customers. When possible, ask customers to rank your and a competitor's customer service.
Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.