As a business person, you know the importance of good customer service, and that poor service can actually cost you money. If you’re struggling with getting your customer service efforts up to par with what customers today have come to expect as the baseline, we have seven strategies for facilities management organisations specifically to update in order to successfully move forward.
2021 has brought about several changes in the way that organisations operate, and there are several changes to the way that facilities management organisations should approach customer service in this new business environment. Consider the following seven approaches to customer service:
You’ve heard time and again that “the customer is always right” or “the customer is key”, but there’s a bit more to it than that. Facilities professionals are often tied to different problem solving tasks that change daily, making it easier for them to forget about their customers on a micro level. When trying to solve problems on the macro level for the organisation, it can be difficult to remember that each individual customer has different wants, needs, and even feelings.
As such, it’s important to remind whoever is interacting with your customers that they should remember to view each situation via that individual customer’s perspective as opposed to the service system as a whole. Doing so makes it possible for your staff to have a clearer viewpoint into the customer’s needs and how you can improve across the board in delivering your services to your customers.
Training customer-facing staff members to use empathetic listening and language such as, “We’re here to help you with your problems”, and “I know how you must be feeling” do wonders to solidify positive customer relationships.
If you use an automated response system or a chatbot to handle any of your customer support inquiries, be sure to humanise them as much as possible, simply by giving your chatbot a name or having your system use phrases that emphasise its helpfulness.
Simply put, service is only defined as handling tasks for someone else, whether those tasks be physical labour or providing information. Hospitality, on the other hand, is defined as an interaction. Hospitality is the friendly and generous reception of guests, visitors, or strangers in a way that facilitates their needs and desires.
Jim Sullivan, author of several books on customer service, describes the difference more succinctly: Service fulfills a need; hospitality fulfills people.
Remember that customers can receive service from automation, but they can only receive hospitality from actual people. Take a look at different and more interactive ways that you could welcome new customers, onboard new employees, etc. in a way that’s more memorable than simply just handling a task.
It’s important for all members of your organisation to understand that customer success is everyone’s business, even if a particular customer inquiry or concern doesn’t necessarily apply to them specifically.
If a staff member doesn’t know the answer to a customer’s question, or the customer has asked the wrong person, it’s up to that staff member to take responsibility for the customer’s success anyway. Staff should be trained to take charge of helping the customer find the appropriate solution by whatever means possible, thereby cementing the overall success in the mind of the customer.
Of course, your staff must be trained correctly, and this type of training should be shown by example from top to bottom.
You must remember that while touch points may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of the hundreds of customer touch points you oversee, each and every touch point is important to the customer experience.
A touch point is any time a customer or potential customer comes in contact with your brand. With the plethora of choice in today’s world, we know that customers are searching for memorable experiences, so it’s up to you to ensure that they receive a positive feeling every time they interact with you.
It’s crucial to ensure that your strategy still has your original value proposition in mind. This seems like common sense, but your value proposition might sometimes get lost in the mix of content and advertising you may be putting out.
Your marketing model should outline strategies for interaction with all of your customers at every step in the chain, from staff to other departments to senior management. Your strategy should consistently reinforce your value proposition, which states why exactly customers should indeed do business with your organisation.
Your value proposition should define exactly what facility management does and what sort of value it adds. Stop and consider what value you can provide that is unique or different from your competition, and craft your value proposition around that.
Along with your value proposition, you should ensure that you’re striving to build a brand that people notice and can relate to.
Because facilities management services tend to operate “behind the scenes”, many departments receive little or no recognition for their role within the organisation. But to really reach your customers on the next level, they should know who you are and exactly what you do.
Think about implementing an internal newsletter, or a place to share departmental information. These are great ways to get everyone involved, and publicise what the facilities department focuses on and help people understand how you can support their daily jobs.
You should not only be collecting customer feedback to know how you’re performing, but you should be actually putting that feedback to use in order to improve. Take notice if any of your customers are only scoring you at a 5 or 6 out of 10 in any specific areas, and really try to hone in on what you could do to improve, or implement tactics in any areas they’re particularly pleased with.
Especially if your customer took the time out of their day to respond to your survey regarding your service, you should absolutely be studying their feedback and using it as a metric to progress your business.
Ultimately, even if the quality of the service you provide is extraordinary, no one will know about it if your customers aren’t coming back for more or telling their friends about you.
An organisation must truly value their customer in order to succeed today, and it’s a beneficial goal for everyone to strive for superior service.