If you have subscribed to our feeds or are browsing this site, then you are probably in the service industry. This short article gives a very short overview of how we have interpreted the 5 F’s of Customer Service in an effort to deliver world class customer service.
Fast – this one is fairly self explanatory to most people. As a customer in a world which is increasingly dominated by digital interactions and the need for instant gratification, everything you do needs to be at a the fastest pace possible – although this pace must be sustainable. It is no longer acceptable for a request for quotation to take days, or for you to wait for more than five minutes to be served in a retail environment. This culture needs to be adopted throughout the organisation and needs to permeate through to every customer interaction
Friendly – unless it is a grudge purchase, shopping is generally perceived to be a happy experience – one that brings joy. It therefore goes without saying that you then need to do everything in your power to ensure that the customer-facing members of your team have a friendly disposition and a smile on their faces at all times. Some people are cut out for this and some are not.
Focused – this one is a bit more challenging as we are often required to multi-task and have almost constant distractions/interruptions from our digital devices. It is critical however that you impress upon your team the need to switch off from whatever else they are doing and focus entirely on the customer at hand. This may mean that some of their other tasks slip slightly backwards and you have to let them know that this is in order. I am sure you have come across people, be it a friend, colleague or somebody serving you, who has only been listening to you with one ear and clearly has not absorbed and/or understood what you are saying. In a service environment this is fatal.
Flexible – as with most of these, the guidelines are not absolute. Perhaps the polar opposite of this is a typical government institution, where staff are often disinterested, unmotivated and severely hampered by red tape. Think about the last time you had an interaction in this environment and how you felt when the person serving you was absolutely inflexible, to the point of being ridiculous. If accommodating a customer request won’t cause you harm (financial or otherwise), but may require a little extra effort, then by all means go that extra mile. You may not make as much margin from the sale, but you will have probably converted a customer into a brand advocate.
Fun – we have now come full circle. As you may recall, I mentioned above that shopping is generally a happy experience. You clearly need to maintain a professional approach at all times, but you also have a responsibility to be proactive in ensuring that the entire shopping journey is a positive experience. To this end, look for ways to delight your customers and where appropriate, have a bit of fun in the process.
The summary above is extremely brief and is merely meant to be an overview of the 5 F’s in customer service. To truly understand this topic, you need to take them and apply them to your particular business. The next step is to then have regular training with your staff and be sure to include role play – this is one of the best forms of learning and yes, it will also make the whole experience loads of fun!
Remember that wearing a Name Badge definitely facilitates almost all of the above. For more reasons on why you and your team should wear a Name Badge, have a look at this post on 22 Reasons to Wear a Name Badge.