Win Business With Customer Service
While price is important, the best way for an in-plant to distinguish itself is through superior customer service and satisfaction. So wrote Jean-Luc Devis, former Washington State Printer, in a 2004 IPG article full of good advice that is still important today.
While many in-plants focus on using technology to improve customer satisfaction, Devis noted, we must always remember to develop a personal relationship between the customer and the in-plant. We must truly take an interest in the customer and in his or her business and let them know on a regular basis that we care. Customers want to feel welcomed, be understood, feel important, feel appreciated and be remembered. You don't get that from technology. You get it from your staff's customer service skills and from relationship building.
Individuals who interface with customers must perfect several types of service skills. The telephone is one of the most important and least focused upon customer service communications tools. Phone techniques are critical not only for customer service representatives but for each and every individual in your organization.
When the phone rings answer it promptly, preferably by the second ring. This communicates the message that you are ready to listen and that the call is not an inconvenient intrusion. Consider providing cordless headset phones for your customer service representatives so that they have hands-free mobility to collect files, interface with your production management system and move about. Identify yourself and your department properly and remember that your tone of voice accounts for much of the message the caller hears.