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Customer Services – The 4 P’s

There are many different types of customer service that are provided by organisations, the type of which customers will encounter will depend on the product or service that the business provides, the needs of the customer and whether the service is problem-oriented or focused toward enhancing the consumer's experience.

Above all else your ability and efficiency to successfully meet the needs of your customers is paramount, however there are many other areas that contribute to the provision of good customer service and, to be successful, vendors should be mindful of the impact these objectives have on the customer experience.  These ‘ancillary’ areas are sometimes overlooked and can be classified as the 4 P’s and include Promptness, Politeness, Professionalism and Personalisation.

Promptness

Promptness covers the promises that are made and your commitment for the delivery of products and services on time. Delays and cancellations should always be avoided wherever possible to protect the customer experience and maintain confidence in the supplier’s ability to deliver effective solutions on time.

Politeness

Politeness is a dying art. Saying 'hello,' 'good afternoon,' 'sir', and 'thank you very much' are all part of good customer service and, for any business, a simple 'thank you' is appropriate whether the customer confirms an order or not.  Politeness can sometimes be lost through over-familiarity, or indeed overlooked when that big order fails to materialise, however it is equally as important to maintain positive relationships and to remain grateful for the opportunity, even at times where the business does not follow as you never know when the next opportunity may arise and you need to ensure you are always considered.  One way to look at this is that manners cost nothing and, while this element may not be seen as a deal breaker, you can be assured that bad manners will not be tolerated and a bad experience never forgotten thus compounding the importance of maintaining polite communications throughout.

Professionalism

Professionalism is concerned with ensuring that all customers are treated professionally and equally, irrespective of the persons’ level within their organisation or the level of spend that this particular customer brings in. Ensuring a high level of professionalism in everything that you do shows the customer that you really care about them, another element that will stand the department in good stead.  Furthermore people buy from people and a good experience may be remembered when an employee moves on to pastures new and what better than to be contacted by a previous client wishing to work with you from a new company.

Personalisation:  The final area, Personalisation, is another key aspect to providing good customer service and can include the use of the customer's name which can be effective in producing loyalty. Customers like the idea that their supplier knows them on a personal level and, providing it is controlled and not intrusive, can be an excellent way of building and developing lasting relationships.  As with the other areas, personalising your delivery to the client costs nothing except a little time and the inclination to recognise such opportunities.

So next time you are dealing with a customer, regardless of how you rate your product or service delivery, try considering whether your approach incorporates the 4 P’s or whether you are missing a trick, as it is the simple things people take for granted that can really make a difference.

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