Everyone likes to talk about customer service like it is something that sets them apart. But the reality is what they consider great customer service usually falls short of what the client is actually looking for or expecting in customer service. Or when you ask them specifics they just don’t have them.
Wikipedia will tell you that customer service is “the provision of service to customers before, during, and after a purchase.” And Businessdictionary will tell you that it’s “All interactions between a customer and a product provider at the time of sale, and thereafter.” But what is it really? And why is it important?
I presented the following series of questions to our staff;
“When you think great customer service what comes to mind? What do you think we do to provide not just good customer service but great customer service?”
This is what they feel sets us apart;
Friendly open communication, immediate replies, and follow up, not holding onto files, providing all information the moment it becomes available, always being one step ahead, taking ownership, maintaining constant contact with clients, communication, communication and communication.
As you can see we STRESS communication in our office. Communication is by far one of the most important things we focus on. There should never be a moment where you are in the dark on the progress of your file. One thing we do that our clients rave about is notifying them the moment we find out a permit issue exists and also notify the client if the property is clear of permitting issues. This allows them to get started on correcting any issues that may exist or allow them to breathe easy.
Another crucial part of great customer service is addressing and solving any issues a client may have. Apologizing for any inconvenience they may have experienced and taking responsibility when necessary. We like to call ourselves a family, not just another company. So when you are working with us you are gaining an extended family, one that will go to battle for you if ever needed. We stand by our work. So when an issue arises with a County or City please give us a call, and we will do whatever we can to resolve the issue at hand. Good customer relationships, like good personal relationships, depend on honest communication, fairness and trying diligently to do what you say you'll do.
Feedback is also important. We regularly follow up with our clients to ensure that we are providing them with exactly what they need. All businesses should be able to move and grow to accommodate a client’s request. We must always remember that there will be someone out there somewhere willing to accommodate a client’s request if we are not. Maintain flexibility.
Always being one step ahead and taking ownership. When we receive an order we get started on it within 4 business hours of receiving it. We do not and will not “sit” on orders because we feel one is more important than the other. The reality is ALL orders are important and that is why it is crucial that we are always one step ahead. The way we staff our office allows us to handle a sudden increase of orders without creating a backlog. The reality is customers don’t want to wait, and they don’t want excuses as to why their orders are being delayed because of a lack of staff. We feel that it is important to take ownership and maintain a very professional outlook to our work.
We also believe that great customer service isn’t always directed toward the client but is built behind the scenes.
When I started Elite Property Research of course my intention was to be able to provide for my family. But there was a bigger goal than my own financial gain. My goal was to create an environment that people would want to work in. An environment where employees can come to work and not feel like they “have” to be here. I tell all of my staff, if there is ever a moment where you are dreading coming into the office then we need to talk because I have failed them as a manager. What's the difference between a good company and a great one? It's people. I truly believe that a happy office will reflect in our work. Someone who enjoys what they do will always take more pride in their tasks and in turn it will reflect in their work and ultimately benefit the client. We achieve this daily by creating a fun, family style atmosphere.
Remember to always remain humble and stay true to your original mission. Be thankful for each and every order you receive from a client. In our industry our end product should all be the same. Yes it may look different and come over on a different form, but the reality is all the information, all the meat of the report should be the same. But what sets our company apart is the experience a client has during the process. The relationship we build with them. The reality is if it wasn’t for our clients we wouldn’t have a business. We choose to focus on being truthful, honest, hardworking and setting the bar HIGH! We remain thankful and truly believe that has been a huge part of our success.
So what exactly does great customer service consist of? Communication, taking ownership, maintaining flexibility, building a strong team behind the scenes, remaining humble and thankful.