A big part of why Advance Financial has grown so much is because of the way we treat others. Although we are no longer a small company, we do our best to treat everyone we work with, internally and externally, as a part of our team. Because of that, we believe we have mastered the art of customer service.
Customer service isn’t just about making sure our customers have the best experience possible when entering our stores, calling our call center or using our digital platform – yes, this is a big part of it – but it’s also about making sure our employees who serve those customers are well-trained and having a positive experience at work every day. After all, the culture of a company tends to “trickle down” from top to bottom.
That philosophy is how we came up with our formula for customer service. Here are a few things we suggest:
- Develop stellar customer service training – About five years ago as part of our efforts to learn the secret to great customer service and revamp our training program, we started working with the DiJulius Group, which offers a 10-step program to raise the bar in customer service called the Customer Experience Executive Academy (CXEA). Through this program, we have learned not only how to properly execute customer service efforts throughout the company, but also how to train new employees on those philosophies.
- Create an awesome company culture – If employees are happy and they feel a sense of care from their higher-ups, they will be more likely to extend that sentiment to the colleagues and customers they work with. Make sure employees continue to be engaged in their work by offering incentives and giving them opportunities to grow personally and professionally through company activities, volunteering and more.
- Reinforce a “We” mentality – Get employees in the habit of using “we” when speaking with customers. Everyone who dons the Advance Financial logo is part of the team, and everyone we serve should feel like they are part of it too.
- Emphasize respect – Mutual respect is really important in any relationship, no matter how acquainted both parties are with one another. In other words, give customers the same respect as your co-workers or managers, and make the customers feel as if their needs are just as important as your own. An interaction with them should be a conversation rather than a transaction.
- Make things complicated – Every employee should know the ins and outs of the company and the products it is offering. This is where a good training program can also come in handy. If employees are unclear about a policy or procedure, they aren’t going to be able to state it to their customers. And as soon as customers feel uninformed or like they have to go out of their way to get the service or knowledge they need, their experience rating drops.
- Forget about employee experience – It’s easy to think only about how you can make customers happy and forget that the employees, especially those on the front line, are the ones who make that happen. We can’t stress enough how important it is to create a positive experience for BOTH employees and customers.
- Ignore feedback – Both employee and customer feedback is crucial to ensure positive experiences because both are witnessing your company’s strengths and weaknesses. That means constantly asking employees and customers to rate their experiences and modifying policies based on what they share. Keep in mind that customers may give their feedback on various forums, including social media, and they may expect a timely response.
- Be afraid of complaints – Let’s be honest, your services won’t be impeccable every single time, so there will be complaints to address. While they may seem intimidating, they are a healthy and necessary part of making your company better.
Guest post courtesy of Tina Hodges, CEO and CXO of Advance Financial, a leading multi-state fintech company based in Nashville, Tennessee. At Advance Financial, we realize that each person we work with – employee or customer – is an equally important piece of the equation. When every employee is on the same page, satisfied and well-equipped, the customer is more likely to have a great experience. That’s the ultimate secret to developing customer service that is off the charts.