Dressing The Part

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Some of you are probably wondering what your dress code has to do with customer service. Let me start by saying that the way we dress has a remarkable impact on the people we meet professionally or socially and it sometimes can have crucial affect on how they treat us. Dressing professional is important to me as an employee and as a supervisor. I feel that when I don’t dress professionally my customers do not take me seriously, especially when there is a problem that needs to be solved. I’ve noticed that the majority of the time they always ask to speak to my supervisor and when I say I’m the supervisor they ask for my manager to see if what I told them will have a different outcome. I noticed that if we dressed properly our customers will treat us accordingly and we as employees will be successful in business. When we dress properly I noticed that it can boost our confidence level and we will perform better in our workplace.

Dressing properly doesn’t mean that you must wear a three-piece suit, an over your budget dress, or go out and buy yourself a whole new wardrobe . The way you dress should suit the job, not every job requires that three-piece suit or that white collard shirts with black pants, for example if you work in retail you may want to wear a conservative clean sharp business casual wear or if you are a personal banker then you may need a nice sports coat, collard shirt with some nice dress pants. The point is that you need to dress the part.

I feel that lately a lot of businesses have relaxed their dress code and aren’t meeting the customer expectations. No matter what you should always keep in mind that our employees are representing our businesses, regardless if they are the front line that interact with our customers or restaurant diners. Employee appearances matter because they impact customer experiences and again it builds your reputation. Here are a few tips on dress codes standards.

  • Appear with a neat and clean appearance.
  • Wear appropriate attire for the job.
  • When in doubt, don’t wear it until you ask
  • Remember that some employees are allergic to the chemicals in perfumes, so wear it with restraint.

I hope my tips will also help you build a dress code for yourself if not for your employees. Maybe these tips might even help you with your job interviews. You want to make the best impression, of course, and your clothes say a lot about you and who your are!

What are your thoughts? Please share in the comment section below.

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Working With Challenging Customers

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I know that most of us give excellent customer service but no matter what we do there is always that one customer that we can’t seem it meet their needs. It almost seems like the more we try to satisfy that customer it tends to back fire on us. We try to listen to what the customers needs are but by then the customer is so frustrated with us because we couldn’t satisfy their needs the first time. Then we reach the point were they don’t want to deal with us anymore and the conversation turns into an argument. Especially when in reality there really isn’t anything we can do or it is out of our hands to answer our customer’s wishes. The last thing that customers want to hear is that its “policy”.

I have found out that at times the customer doesn’t understand what I’m saying because I’m not explaining myself and if I keep repeating it without explaining the situation they can get even more upset because half the time the customer may not have an understanding of the situation. It has also happened to where the customer is already having a bad day and unfortunately they are taking it out on the next person who is you. Yes that is no excuse but it happens. That’s why when that challenging customer comes your way you should be the one to help the situation even if you know you can’t. If you can’t help make the customer feel that you did everything in your power to help the situation. Checkout these ways to work with challenging customers that I have used and have helped me to turn that challenging customer into a happy customer.

Listen and don’t interrupt
• Ask questions
• Show empathy
• Solve the problem
• Follow up
• End on a positive note

Like I said before it may not solve the problem but the customer will appreciate the fact that you are trying and are not trying to pass them off to someone else. The last thing you don’t want to do is irritate them more than they already are and give them the run around.

What are your thoughts? Please share your comments on the section below.

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Did You “WOW” Your Customers Today?

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I always believed that people that were in the customer service industry must enjoy their jobs. When I see and employee that is giving great customer service I would think to myself “WOW”, they must really enjoy the company they work for. Which at times can be true, but then there are those employees who see their work environment as just another job. They come to work do the minimum that is asked of them and leave. The next day they repeat it and the day after that. Some employees don’t change and keep doing the minimum until they decide to leave. To me that may seem like maybe those employees are not being acknowledged for what they do therefore they don’t try and improve their status from doing the minimum to being great or it could also be that they have not been trained on customer service. It could be a lot of things that may lead to why they aren’t performing great customer service.

What if we can try and change those employees that do the minimum work that is required to exceed in their jobs. I just recently read an article by Ken Blanchard who talks about taking control of your customer service and in one part of the article that caught my attention was when he said “the best way to “wow” your customers it to take care of the people who take care of your customers”. He had so many good points on building a customer oriented business and everything he said here was so true, especially if you are serious about creating a culture of exceptional service. As the employer we need to start getting everyone on the same page and make every employee believe that the most important thing is service. I would recommend enforcing it on everyone not just your frontline employees, who are the employees that provide customer service to our customers. We need to remember that as a manager/supervisor we are role models to our employees.  So we not only need to “WOW” our customers but our employees as well. We need to keep our employees happy and motivated. The benefits of doing so will be the following;

  1. All employees will be on the same page of what is expected of them and no employee will feel left out or will not know what is expected of them.
  2. To get our employees motivated maybe start an incentive program and have goals for them.
  3. Every customer that our employees reach out to will be given the “WOW” service, “WOW” service would equal happy customers which then would equal to returning/new customers!

What are your thoughts? Please share in the comment section below.

Would You Go Back?

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Ever walked out of a store and felt so satisfied with the service that you would go back just because of the customer service. I can’t describe the feeling I get when I walk into my “favorite” store; words cannot describe the feeling. At times this doesn’t happen overnight sometimes it can take about two or three times but it’s a nice feeling when you go back to a store or restaurant and the employees are trying to build that customer relationship with you that they remember your name or even know what you ordered for lunch that day. They were paying attention to what you bought or ate the times that you would go in and every time you go in they recommend something similar yet different for you to try.

When I walk into what I call my “favorite” store they greet me by name and that right there makes me feel good especially when they start recommending me new things. I have the employee’s attention and they know what I like. I especially like it when they remember the last time I was at the store looking for a certain cardigan or shirt that next time I go they have something for me that is similar if not the item I was looking for. The point is that the employee remembered you!

I love sharing my customer service experiences. I use these experiences with my staff in hopes that they get something out of it and end up using some of my experiences as tips so that they can use and remember the feeling they got when that customer left satisfied. I also enjoy hearing other people’s experiences about the services they received. I have learned a lot by hearing from other people’s experiences. Listening to them has taught me what they expect and what I should do to meet their needs. The important tip for an employee to keep in mind when helping their customers is not only to listen to their customers but to identify and anticipate their needs. There is an article by Susan A. Friedmann that explains why it’s important to identify those needs.

The benefits for employees if they give better customer service is:

1)    If you work in a restaurant you could get tipped better

2)    In retail your guaranteed a loyal customer

3)    The business will gain a positive reputation

What are your thoughts? Please share your comments in the section below.

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Don’t Hit Send Just Yet

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There are a few guidelines that we can use to help us avoid making mistakes and having people misunderstanding us through e-mail. I would like to talk about a few of them and maybe even give a few tips on how we can send a professional e-mail. I try and proof read my e-mails before sending it because in the past I’ve had co-workers correct my grammar after I have sent it, which can be embarrassing especially having a position that requires you to always check your spelling and grammar. Lesson learned I should have taken the time more carefully to check my e-mail instead of just sending it.

I remember writing my first e-mail it wasn’t the greatest but I did learn a lot. From that I remember being told that when writing e-mails they should be just as formal as writing a letter, not to type in all uppercase, and all spelling and grammar should be correct before sending it. I also noted that emails shouldn’t be long. They need to be brief and to the point because a lot of people don’t have the time to read long e-mails.

Here are a few tips that my co-workers passed on to me that can hopefully be of some use to you.

  • Be careful with sensitive information – follow any policy you may have.
  • Respond quickly
  • Be clear and concise
  • Understand that e-mail can be permanent and can also be forwarded to “anyone”

We need to make note that more and more people interact through e-mail. That alone is a good enough reason why it’s important to have proper e-mail etiquette. But it also decreases the flow of paper, saves trees! E-mail can also be used for scanning documents. It’s also convenient for those who don’t have access to a fax machine close to them. In an article that I read regarding e-mail etiquette by Dave Johnson that lists great examples on how e-mails should be written and what to pay attention to when writing any kind of e-mails.

What are your thoughts? Please share your thoughts in the section below.

Can I Have Your Attention?

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While you were being helped whether it was at a store or a bank even a doctor’s office, ever had that employee start talking to another employee about their work or just having a personal conversation? I heard of these incidents happening not to mention that the bank incident did happen to me. It caused that associate to withdraw funds from someone else’s account. I could have left but since I am an honest person it was taken care of before I left. Can you imagine what would have happened if I wouldn’t have said anything? Not giving the person that is standing in front of you your full attention can cause mistakes on the transactions not to mention that it could also cause the customer to leave very unhappy. Your business will be known to have a bad reputation because that person will mention it to someone and it will get passed on.

How can we resolve these problems? How about by training our employees to keep everything they do and say professional. After all they are the ones representing the business. Here is a list that I started that you or your employees can use as a guide. What are some other tips that we can add to our list?

  • When employees are around stop what you are doing and acknowledge the customer.
  • Greet the customer.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Make them feel like it’s about them whether it’s for five seconds or five minutes.
  • Give the customer your undivided attention.

Now these are just a few but regardless if you add these tips to the ones you have it’s important that your employees know that customers always come first. That should be the first priority. The more we stay focused while helping our customers the better the result. Paying attention to what you are doing will cause fewer mistakes to be made and if you make a mistake there is a chance that you will catch it before the customer does. Our goal is to have a positive impact on our customers and for our customers to walk out satisfied. That alone will have given a positive reputation on our business.

What are your thoughts? Please share your thoughts in the section below.

I’ll Be Right Back!

Ever been in a store where you decide to try on clothes and the sales associate puts you in a dressing room and then tells you that they’ll be back to check on you. Then minutes pass by which may seem like hours and no sales associate and you really like the item that you are trying on, you just need it in a different size. The worst part of this experience is that the store isn’t busy, it’s one of those slow nights. There has been times that customers won’t buy anything because no one went back to check on them. I have to say I have been in those customers’ shoes and as a supervisor I have heard customers comment that if only someone would have assisted them in the dressing room they would have purchased that item or they would have bought more of that item just in a different color or style. Right there our business is loosing money and maybe even a customer.

As a supervisor regardless if the store is having a slow day or is busy there is no excuses for not helping customers especially that are in the fitting room. After all that is why we are here, to help customers. When you put someone in a dressing room always go back and check on them, especially if you tell them that you’ll be back to check on them. Even though you didn’t use the word “promise” you still committed to them that you would return to check and see how they were doing. Below are some tips that could help you and your business.

  • Greet customers in a friendly way when they walk in
  • Ask if there is anything you can help them find. If they are just looking let them know your name and where you’ll be if they decide they need your assistance.
  • Give customers space but make yourself available in case they have questions
  • Listen to what your customers are looking for
  • Bring similar items to them in the fitting rooms giving them options. Keep in mind if they like one style more then likely they’ll like it in another similar style.
  • If the store is having a slow day and there are customers in the fitting rooms check on them every few minutes. If your store is busy you should have a designated associate working the fitting rooms only to assist those customers if possible.

dressing roomKeep in mind the more you serve your customers they will return and they will comment on your service to their friends. I always tell my associates to treat our customers just like they would if one of their family members had walked in needing assistance.

 

 

 

What are your thoughts? Please share your thoughts in the section below.

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