Having been an induction trainer for a multi-national company for the past three years, there are a few basic rules people should follow when dealing with the public that I’ve learned over my time. Yet, there are SO many businesses and companies out there who are STILL clueless on how to give good service. Here are 5 basic rules to follow:
1. ALWAYS reply to emails. And not in a week or five days. In a timely manner, if someone emails out of hours, reply the next day. Even if you don’t know the answer to their query it’s better to let the person know that you’ve received their email than ignore it until you can think of a reply. This also INCLUDES accepting CVs. When you list a job, set up an auto-reply if you have to, there is nothing worse than applying for a job and never hearing if they even received your application. This is a very basic one and a no-brainer.
2. NEVER answer a ringing phone if there is a client/customer in front of you. Nothing says ‘you are unimportant’, like dismissing a person who has made the effort to be present and spend money at your establishment, than taking a phone call while they stand waiting for you to finish. It’s rude, it’s ignorant, so just stop!
3. STOP checking your amazing phone in the company of clients/customers. It may have everything from a GPS to a toasted sandwich maker but constantly hooking up to your social networking placenta is the modern day equivalent of glancing at your watch during a boring conversation. In fact, this applies across the board. If you are in general company and are regularly ignoring people asking you direct questions so you can update your twitter, just stop. Ignorance may be bliss for you but it’s a pain for everyone else.
4. ALWAYS listen to what a customer/client wants. You may think that you know what’s best or what would suit them better, but at the end of the day they are the ones forking over cash-money. Sure offer advice and suggestions but being overbearing is uncomfortable for a client/customer and forcing or coercing someone into making a decision will only backfire once they mull it over and decide to cancel their plans.
5. BE flexible. On price, on deadlines and on last minute changes. Family of mine walked out of an electronics store when the assistant couldn’t offer even a €10 discount on an €800 TV. Imagine loosing a potentially €790 deal because you couldn’t take a €10 hit. If it came to it I’d give them the €10 myself to make €790 in one sale. Be savvy. People are looking for bargains or anything that helps them feel less guilty about splurging. Wise up with offers and promotions aimed at your target market that wont break the bank, but will have your market pick you over your competitors.