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When we think about service excellence, we often, and rightly so, associate it directly with customer service. Often, companies are only successful when the customer base is happily satisfied with the services offered. A positive relationship goes beyond the product itself and is directly related to service. With this in mind, something to be wary of are moments within the customer experience that can negatively alter the customer’s opinion. An issue that can often arise is when customer service is provided as a reaction, as opposed to a continuous relationship – better known as customer care. Striving for continuous customer care can be achieved through several strategies. How can you navigate the right tactic to get to where you want to be?

Pivotal Moments

Customer service can make or break your organization. Research shows that approximately 75% of customers who leave do so because the customer service is not satisfactory. Those numbers speak for themselves – taking care of customers is vital to overall success. There are specific moments, that when handled tactfully, can make a positive impression on the customer. A pivotal moment can occur during a customer handover. A handover is when an employee/service provider turns over customer care or service to another employee/service provider.

If you reflect on moments within your own experience, you could probably think back on the good and the bad handovers you have had as a customer. For example, you make a call to one of your home service providers, an employee answers and you state your reason for calling. The employee says, “I’ll place you on hold while I connect you to the right person to handle this query” and a few seconds later you get an answering machine service and not the person who is the sole holder of the answer to your pressing question. This can be frustrating and demoralizing for you as a customer and can reap damaging results for an organization. On the other hand, reflect on your favorite brand and how they have likely treated you with the utmost care repeatedly. They are your favorite for a reason! They likely treated you how you expected to be treated, or even better than you expected. Danny Meyer, a master restaurant entrepreneur, states, “Recognition is the number one reason guests cite for wanting to return.” It is not just the superb food that keeps customers coming back for more, it’s his staff who keeps them happy and stress free, creating a fond memory of the experience in its entirety.

There are several ways that a handover can occur and this is dependent on the environment. As shown in the negative phone exchange above, you may not always be client facing, but may have many phone or email interactions. There are specific ways to handle each with care. Remember, the goal of a handover is to reduce anxiety, misunderstandings, and errors.

Handover Types

The In-person Handover

Always be sure to handover the customer to another employee while remaining in their presence. Once you arrive to the employee who will be taking over, put the customer at ease by saying reassuring things about the coworker. This tactic is also known as managing up.

If you are on the receiving end of a handover, ask the employee doing the handover for information that will help ensure a positive outcome. Remember, if a customer is already upset, think strategically about the handover.

This handover style also applies during interactions across a counter.

The Phone Transfer Handover

Provide the customer with the phone number of the receiving person, in case the transfer fails. Provide the customer with your phone number and explain you are happy to follow-up, if necessary. Just as you would do in person, manage up the receiving employee. If you know the employee on the receiving end is not available to take the transfer, think twice about transferring and let the customer know they may not be able to reach the employee at that time, to monitor expectations.

The Email Handover

Every so often, we receive an email that was not meant for us or that references services needed from another department or person. Mindfully conducting these handovers are just as important to ensuring service excellence.

Review these 3 tips for email handovers:

Treat Every Interaction as a First Impression

It is often the small things that we remember during our experiences as a customer that form our long-term perception of an organization. Make every interaction a positive one, no matter how quick or seemingly insignificant it may be. You never know when a small gesture will make a big impact.

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