When you hear the word hospitality the first things that comes to mind are hotels, restaurants, cruise ships, or tourism. Hospitality is providing friendly and generous treatment to guests, and we can use these versatile customer service lessons in all areas of business.
By being hospitable to your customers, you are more likely to walk away with someone willing to come back to your business. Treating the customer with generosity and kindness can lead to more success for your business. The core of customer service is engagement; it’s about listening to your customer and giving them your undivided attention.
How To Exceed Customer Expectations
When engaging with customers it is best to present yourself and your business as a good listener.
You can do this easily by being observant of their tone of voice and their mood. Be professional and do not interrupt the customer as they speak. By not interrupting them, you will show that you're genuinely listening to and showing an interest in what they have to say. Once they are done speaking, try to address everything that they have said. Use the following four steps to exceed your customers' expectations.
1. Recognition & Acknowledgement: Recognize customers by acknowledging them. Never ignore your customers. Instead, make them feel appreciated by paying attention to them and welcoming them back when they return.
None of us want to feel like just a number to a corporation. Consider trying one of the ways we make our customers feel valued:
- Send a small gift or handwritten thank you note to your customers to let them know you were thinking of them. Send something from your local area that they might not regularly enjoy or have access to. We send king cakes or pralines to our customers outside of our local area for them to enjoy some of our local flavor.
- Do you know your customer’s anniversary date with your company? Send them a thank you note on their anniversary thanking them for their business.
2. Empower Your Employees: Give employees permission and the creativity to solve customer issues without waiting for a manager to approve it. With some issues, employees should be able to solve the issue themselves. By allowing your employees to solve certain customer service issues, you give them the ability to help the customer in a timely manner.
- Happy employees make happy customers. We go out of our way to thank employees for their hard work and they in turn make their customers and callers feel special.
3. Hire For Fit: Hire someone who will fit with your business and be able to live your core values the way you intend them to be. Someone who does not fit with your business will not represent your company in the way that you want to be represented. Read our post "Hiring a Live Call Operator: What Qualities You Should Look For", for hiring tips and insight from our hiring manager, Steffy.
Hiring an employee for fit will give you an employee that can act with compassion. This is beneficial to you because the compassion shows itself as an employee acting on your behalf with whatever your business needs may be. This employee can handle problems with care and concern as well as treat your regular callers with a human connection.
4. Limit The Phrase ‘No’: Try to keep from telling customers no. Find a way to say yes or find ways to please the customer instead of just giving them a negative response. Finding a solution for your customer will alleviate any aggravation and show that you are willing to work with them.
Bonus: Exceed Customer Expectations Over The Phone: While all four of these tips can be used for over-the-phone customer service, this tip is especially important! On the phone, where face-to-face interaction is impossible, tone of voice takes on significant importance. Someone who technically answers questions but is blunt, rushed or rude really doesn’t enhance your company’s image and may even cause damage to your relationship with a customer.
Give the person on the other line your full attention while remaining calm and positive. When you summarize the conversation at the end of the call this ensures that you are truly hearing what the customer is saying. If there was any confusion in communication, it will give the caller an opportunity to restate their needs. Your customers can leave the conversation feeling like they were heard.
By simply using these four tips, you and your employees will be able to exceed the expectations of your customers and better your business as a whole.