By Jo Schmeiser, Greater MilfordChamber Director
The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford’s February Sunrise Seminar focused on the importance of customer service and how easy it is to provide the best service. Guest speaker Bruce Johnston of Burgers-N-Beans in Milford explained that a business person providing exceptional customer service can increase sales, increase profits and expand a customer base. Bruce said it does not matter whether the customer is on the phone, sends an email, on social media or is face to face, that the owner and employees should treat them the same way, friendly.
“After all, friendliness is free,” stated Bruce “It all starts with a smile. Even if you arere on the phone, do it with a smile”.
Smiling was number one on Bruce’s Top 10 Steps to Exceptional Customer Service. Number two, he said, is Greeting People and Building Rapport. The first second the employer or employees have contact with the customer they should be building a rapport by making eye contact while greeting them. Even if they are with another customer employees should at least acknowledge them and let them know that someone will be with them as soon as possible.
Step three is Listening and Problem Solving. Simple things like getting an order correct and following up will set you apart from your competition. Number four on Bruce’s list is to Seek Out Customer Contact. This means instead of waiting for the customer to come to you, approach them first, and again, always with a smile.
Step number five is to Go the Extra Mile. Things like opening a door for the customer, helping them with heavy items, or instead of pointing where something is, taking the person to what they are looking for if that applies to your business. Bruce says to always Make the Customer Feel Special, which is his number step six to exceptional customer service. One way to make the customer feel special is number seven, Addressing the Customers Concerns. Never make the customer feel like they are asking too much, but assure them that you will address their concerns in a timely manner, make sure to apologize, tell them you value their business and let them know how important they are to your business.
Another important step is number eight. Bruce stated that it is easy to Stack the Odds in your Favor. He said that during the interview make sure you hire people who smile, who are friendly and will be easy to train. One way to find out after you hire someone Bruce said, is Follow Up to find out from your customers how your employee(s) treated them. Also, check to see if your employees are friendly, did they rush the customer, were they helpful, did they give the customer exactly what they asked for and did they thank the customer. Bruce’s last step is to Always Thank the Customer. He says it does not matter if the thank you is verbal, written, or both, as long as you thank them.
Bruce ended the seminar by stating, “Exceptional customer service prompts customers to share their experiences with others. Bad experiences on the other hand, will be shared with even more people, including sharing it on Social Media.” He added, “Remember, a customer has a choice where they are going to spend their money. Help them make the right choice by giving them exceptional customer service at your business establishment.” The next Sunrise Seminar is set for Wednesday March 19th. There will be several panelists educating attendees on the Art of Mastering your Marketing Dollars.