CEO of Mixology Clothing Company.
If you ask me, outstanding customer service is becoming rare due to technology and the lack of face-to-face communication. Some businesses are decreasing their workforces due to impacts caused by the pandemic, and others have filed for bankruptcy or disappeared completely. Many of us are trapped behind video calls and emails, which can be detrimental to forming and sustaining quality relationships with our colleagues and consumers.
Whether I’m shopping at a store or enjoying a meal at a restaurant, when I actually do receive incredible hospitality, I am blown away! I’ll visit that business over and over again, and I’ll tell my friends and family about how amazing it is. As a fashion and real estate entrepreneur, I’m passionate about maintaining a culture where my employees value the importance of providing a high level of customer service to everyone they encounter on a daily basis. This includes customers, colleagues, vendors, postmen, investors, landlords, custodians — everyone.
Serving others should be as simple as living out the “golden rule” of treating others how we would want to be treated. However, it is easily forgotten when we don’t genuinely take the time to care for the people on our teams and the customers we serve.
If you want to be successful, consider adopting the mindset I’ve been calling “service as a service” in life and in business. Here’s how:
Be of service to everyone you meet.
Over many years of being in business, I’ve had the pleasure of working with many junior employees who are just starting out and learning the corporate culture. Occasionally, they’ll tell me that they’ve asked a fellow colleague a question or they’ve asked for help, yet their email was ignored and they haven’t received a response. I usually ask that employee, “What’s your relationship with them? Do you know them? Do you talk to them? Have you ever even met them?”
It doesn’t matter if your fellow colleague is a subordinate or not. They are more likely to do you a favor, respond to your emails or help you with a task if you’ve made the effort to serve them first. Instead of always asking others for help, think about how you can help them. Establish a relationship and find ways you can make their job easier.
At my fashion company, the best leaders I’ve worked alongside were those who were humble enough to help with the small tasks. I hired a great manager who served her entire team the moment she walked through the doors. She learned about the team members’ strengths and weaknesses and helped them make improvements where necessary. This manager didn’t come in and try to change everything or boss everyone around. Instead, she built relationships with her team members, gained their trust and helped them do their jobs better. Because she served her new team first, they served her in return by meeting quotas and contributing to a dynamic work environment.
Never ask your customers for anything.
Always go the extra mile for your customers and the people around you. Whether you have an online business or a storefront, your customers are there to relax and enjoy. They want you to meet their needs and exceed their expectations. They need hospitality, not your drama. You are there to listen to what they want and provide a service. Instead of talking about yourself, develop a relationship with your customer and get to know them so you can find out what they need.
You should always be looking for creative ways to improve their experience by offering genuine compliments, advice, loyalty and unforgettable service. When you focus on what your customers are saying, you can sell them a product or service that meets their needs or create a solution that builds trust.
Remember the 80/20 rule.
Your customers should do 80% of the speaking. They don’t need to hear your life story; you are there to listen and be of service to them. In sales, less is more. Listen to your customers and perhaps you can prompt them to find out more information. Discover what’s going on in their life. Then you can get them what they need instead of selling them something they don’t need.
When you focus on the 80/20 rule, there is really no pressure, and you won’t need to worry about hitting those monthly quotas. The ultimate goal is to have your customers feel confident and comfortable with what they bought. When you build that trust and relationship, you’re creating a lifetime customer who may become a raving fan and suggest your services to everyone they know.
People do business with people. Treat them well.
Although she has passed away, my Grandma Norma instilled in me core values that I live out in life and business. She taught me that when you are kind to others and treat them well, your business will thrive. Remember, people do business with people, and people do business with people that they like.
When I’ve talked to business owners with companies that are about to go under, I can tell something is off with their culture. If you don’t treat your employees well, it affects morale and how they interact with customers. When people feel valued by the company they work for, they are more likely to put forth their best efforts to provide outstanding service to their customers.
Big businesses are all about sales, scaling, competition and the quickness of delivery. Treating people well and focusing on service instead of sales seems to be rare. Small businesses have the advantage because they can create a personalized corporate culture with service experiences that wow customers and keep them coming back for more.
Building a culture that teaches your employees how to treat your customers takes time, but once you embed service as a service into every aspect of your organization, your customers will notice. They’ll feel the change and reap the benefits as you continue to grow and find new ways to impress them.