It is Guest Post Monday and today we are thrilled to have Shep Hyken, author, speaker and Chief Amazement Officer (CAO) of Shepard Presentations, LLC.  He created The Customer Focus customer service training and offers us today timeless customer service principles.

Customer Loyalty Month is every April.  Thinking about what I could write or suggest, I read something that is unbelievable.  The American Customer Satisfaction Index (www.theacsi.org) just released their latest survey and it indicated that customer satisfaction is at a two-year low.  While some of this has to do with economic issues, the industries surveyed indicate customer service problems as well.  How can that be?

In a world where people have become extremely value conscious, one of the only ways to compete, outside of price, is with customer service.  Create a better experience and you create better value.  The companies that create the best experience and deliver the highest levels of customer confidence are the ones that stay in business longer and aren’t forced to sell their goods and service at thin or losing margins.

So, in honor of Customer Loyalty Month, here is a “Top Ten” list of customer service tips from my new book, “The Amazement Revolution.”

1. Give your customer a membership experience. You don’t have to call them members, but treat them special.

2. Make the customers’ problem your problem. By solving their problems and needs, you create a partnership.

3. Create a brand promise that is so strong and compelling that it makes your customers think of you more as a partner than as a vendor.

4. Get employees excited about working for you. An enthusiastic and positive work environment is felt by the customer.

5. Make sure you have the right people in the “customer facing” jobs. Consider moving the ones that aren’t customer focused to other positions inside your organization.

6. Send thank you notes.

7. Consider a thoughtful gift for your customers. Not one that is expensive, but one that is unexpected, memorable and appreciated.

8. Look at your customers as a community. Engage in conversations with them and listen to their ideas and suggestions.  Make them part of your process for improvement.

9. Teach everyone in your organization that when it comes to customer service, everyone needs to be a leader – and they should lead by example.

10. Make it personal. People like doing business with people they know, they like and they trust.  Take time to personally reach out to your customers to get to know them better and find out what they really need.

Shep Hyken helps companies build loyal relationships with their customers and employees by helping them deliver amazing levels of customer service. For more information, contact Shep Hyken at (314) 692-2200, shep@hyken.com or  http://www.Hyken.com.

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