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Providing A-Plus Customer Service: A Simple Strategy

The secret to offering A-Plus customer service is not only answering the customer’s question or inquiry, but also adding value to the customer transaction itself.

While providing customer service training to a non-profit organization in Memphis earlier this year, one of the participants demonstrated an exceptional example of what we refer to as A-Plus customer service — also known as “above-and-beyond” customer service. And here’s the good news: A-Plus customer service is not only simple to implement, but it will also differentiate your business or organization from competitors.

Here was the example. Your organization provides residential services to children in need. A law enforcement agency phones your organization to place a neglected child into your residential facility, but your facility does not have any available space that evening. How do you respond to the law enforcement agency’s call?

The participant, an experienced employee with a strong grasp of customer service, responded in an empathetic tone, “Unfortunately, we don’t have any space available in our facility tonight, so let me check with other area agencies to help you place the child. What number can I call you back in a few minutes?”

Note that the participant didn’t simply end the call after explaining that the facility lacked available space; instead, he “added value” to the customer transaction by offering something extra: actively assisting the law enforcement agency place the child in another area facility — yes, even a competitor’s facility, if necessary.

That’s what we refer to as A-Plus customer service:

  • the “A” refers to answering the customer’s question or inquiry; and
  • the “Plus” refers to adding value to the customer transaction itself.

Indeed, this is a core strategy of customer-centric businesses and organizations. For example, when a Disney guest asks a cast member what time the 3:00pm parade will arrive at a specific location in the Magic Kingdom, the cast member not only answers the guest’s question, but also adds value by actually showing the guest a preferable spot from which to observe the parade.

During the recent training session referred to above, the participant used a similar A-Plus customer service strategy: first, the participant explained that the facility did not have any space to place the child that evening (answering); second, he offered to actively help the law enforcement agency locate another facility in which to place the child (adding value).

Here’s the bottom line: Although answering a customer’s question or responding to a customer’s inquiry is an important facet of customer service, adding value to the customer transaction itself will elevate your business’s or organization’s customer service from an A to an A-Plus. Simply put, avoid the temptation to “take the easy way out” by merely answering the customer’s question or inquiry; instead, add value to the customer transaction by offering additional assistance or information.

This week, take a moment to do these three things:

  • First, share this simple A-Plus customer service strategy with your team members.
  • Second, identify common questions and inquiries that your business or organization receives from customers.
  • Third, train your team members not only how to¬†answer those common questions and inquiries, but also how to add value to those underlying customer service transactions.

By implementing this simple A-Plus customer service strategy, you’ll find that your business or organization will cultivate a reputation of consistently providing “above and beyond” customer service, which will easily differentiate your business or organization from competitors.

Mark

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