8 Steps to Superior Customer Relations

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The Secrets of Superior Service
Giving good service in tough times makes good business sense. But how do you actually achieve it? Here are eight proven principles you can use.

1. Understand how your customers' expectations are rising and changing over time. What was good enough last year may not be good enough now. Use customer surveys, interviews and focus groups to understand what your customers really want, what they value and what they believe they are getting (or not getting) from your business.

2. Use quality service to differentiate your business from your competition. Your products may be reliable and up to date, but your competitors' goods are, too. Your delivery systems may be fast and user-friendly, but so are your competitors'!

Make a lasting difference by providing personalized, responsive and extra-mile service that stands out in a unique way your customers will appreciate—and remember.

3. Set and achieve high service standards. You can go beyond basic and expected levels of service to provide your customers with desired and even surprising service interactions. Determine the standard for service in your industry, then find a way to go beyond it. Give more choice than “the usual,” be more flexible than “normal,” be faster than “the average,” and extend a better warranty than all the others.

Your customers will notice your higher standards. But eventually those standards will be copied by your competitors, too. So don't slow down. Keep stepping up!

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