The most successful companies and the highest paid sales people place great value on developing lifetime relationships with their customers and actively look for opportunities to render service above and beyond on their customers’ expectations. In today’s competitive marketplace, your customers are aggressively prospected and their loyalty cannot be taken for granted. Customer-focused companies and individuals recognize that relationship building and follow-up service are critical components for promoting both customer service retentions and long term revenue growth.

When it comes to rendering superior customer service, a “one size fits all” approach simply doesn’t cut it. Research in the field of human psychology indicates people are born into one of four primary temperament styles: aggressive, expressive, passive or analytical. Each of these four temperament styles tends to define “superior customer service” from a slightly different point of view. Once you learn how to identify each of the four primary temperament styles, you’ll be able to truly customize your service to fit your customers’ expectations. In addition to recognizing temperament styles, you must recognize the importance of nonverbal communication and learn to “listen with your eyes”. It might surprise you to know that research indicates 70 percent of our face-to-face interactions with other people are perceived nonverbally. In fact, studies show that body language not only has a much greater communication impact, but it’s also far more reliable that the spoken word.

What type of first impression do you make when meeting your customers for the first time? Research shows that people typically decide in the first few moments whether they like and trust a stranger or not. Yes, we judge a book by its cover too. There’s absolutely no substitute for making a positive first impression.

Superior customer service has much more to do with your ability to actively listen that it does with your gift to gab. To uncover your customer’s hidden expectations and encourage conversation, use open ended questions to probe the meaning behind his or her statements. Open-ended questions require more than a simple yes or no response. It’s also a good idea to occasionally repeat your customer’s words back to them verbatim so they know you are paying attention. Stay focused on what your customer is saying and avoid the temptation to interrupt, argue or dominate the conversation. Interrupting someone when he or she is talking will destroy any rapport you may have established up to that point.

Rendering quality customer service is both a responsibility and an opportunity. Often salespeople view customer service as an administrative burden that takes them away from making a sale. The truth is that rendering customer service provides a golden opportunity for cross-selling, up-selling and generating quality referrals.

Here are five important tips to remember about customer service:

  1. Pay attention to the small things
  2. Stay in contact and keep good records
  3. Give your customers a promotional gift
  4. Establish a feedback system to monitor how your customers perceive the quality and quantity of the service you provide
  5. Under promise and over deliver

Successful salespeople develop the habit of always “going the extra mile” when providing service. The key to building your sales career is in direct proportion to the quality and quantity of the service you provide.