The Surprising Next Level Of Customer Service

 

Top level of customer serviceOne of the great myths of customer service is that it is simply ‘common sense.‘  The implication, when people suggest this, is that achieving a peak level of customer service in an organization requires no significant skill or knowledge.  If this were indeed true, of course, those superstars we encounter wouldn’t stand out nearly so much.

Being perceived as a trusted advisor is one of the hallmarks of the most successful people you will ever meet, and the best customer service

Outstanding customer service begins with mastering the six pillars of customer service – Attitude, Interest, Action, Verbal Language, Body Language and Tone of Voice.  The skills, behaviours and principles in these pillars ensure the delivery of consistently positive experiences.

But there is another level that most people don’t try to achieve.  And it is the true secret to building long-lasting customer loyalty.

The Trusted Advisor Level Of Customer Service

Our relationship with our customers can be broken down into three core categories:

Vendor
Although customers buy things from you, they don’t see you as being remarkably different than your competitors.

Respected Professional
Customers see you as knowledgeable and reliable, and they enjoy doing business with you.

Trusted Advisor
In addition to being knowledgeable and reliable, customers believe you genuinely understand them, and trust that you will look after their best interests.  You are proactive in helping them be successful.
Becoming a Trusted Advisor has tremendous benefits – to you and your company.  Not only are customers more loyal, refer you more frequently and purchase more, they are also more forgiving when things go sideways. 

But to achieve that status in the eyes of your customer isn’t easy.  It requires a lot of effort and a tremendous amount of skill.  Here are just some of the things you need to do to have your customers begin perceiving you as a Trusted Advisor:

1. Understand the role your product or service plays in your customer’s business or personal life

(e.g.: the person I’m buying a suit jacket from understanding that I will be wearing it while giving presentations to large groups)

2. Have a genuine and sincere interest in your customer’s best interests

(e.g.: making sure that the jacket will reflect the image I am trying to portray)

3. Provide relevant insights and guidance that goes beyond the transaction

(e.g.: sending me a link to an interesting article on what another speaker wears)

4. Maintain contact beyond the transaction

(e.g.: sending a short note enquiring how the presentation went, and asking what other presentations might be coming up)

Being perceived as a trusted advisor is one of the hallmarks of the most successful people you will ever meet, and the best customer service providers you will ever encounter.

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Shaun Belding is CEO of The Belding Group of Companies, an international customer service training and consulting company

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