It appears that Guam isn’t being affected by the economy to the extent that we are on the mainland. And it’s anyone’s guess as to how Guam will be impacted in the future. That being said, it’s very important, regardless of the economy, and especially in a down economy, that your business provide the highest level of customer service. You can’t afford to lose the customers you have.

Also, if your business is to benefit from the advancing military buildup, you’ll need to insure that your new customers are pleased with the service you provide.
To compete successfully in today’s challenging business climate, and survive in the long term – regardless of the economy – you must create customer loyalty by providing superior customer service. But the level of service I’m talking about doesn’t just happen. It happens based on the actions of those who run your business.
Your business can no longer afford to compete on the basis of price and quality of products and services alone. Customers are now demanding better service and, in fact, service is often the only way you can distinguish your business from the competition in today’s marketplace.

Unfortunately, whether we are talking about Guam or the mainland, poor service is still the norm. If your managers will make sure that your employees are providing a high level of service, then your business will be the exception, and you’ll create customer loyalty, and increase your bottom line.
Here are a few things that your employees can do to impress your customers:
• Answer your phone – Be sure that someone picks up the phone as soon as someone calls your business.
• Listen to your customers – Let your customers talk and show them that you are listening by making the appropriate responses, such as suggesting how to solve their problem.
• Don’t make promises unless you will keep them – Think before making a promise – because nothing annoys customers more than a broken promise.
• Deal with customer complaints – No one likes to hear customers complain, but those concerned with building loyalty will take the time to fix a customer’s problem. Ask the customer what will please him or her.
• Always be helpful, courteous and knowledgeable – Tell your team what good customer service is (and isn’t) regularly. Most importantly, empower them to make those small customer-pleasing decisions.
• Go the extra mile – Customers notice when employees make an extra effort and will tell other people.
Those Guam business leaders who understand the importance of having a proactive customer service philosophy and are willing to educate their employees about how to deliver excellent service, will beat the competition, hands down.
My response to companies that tell me that training is too costly or time consuming, is that businesses pay for training whether they invest in it or not. Those who don’t invest, can expect lost opportunities, lost revenue, missed deadlines, poor service, fewer customers and more mistakes. The fact is, companies pay for training, one way or the other.

– Tom Watson is the president and founder of Watson Training and Development. He can be contacted through the company’s Web site at www.watson-training.com.