The Secret to Outstanding Customer Service
Joanne Honour is the Customer Service Manager here at Clayton Glass, and has been with us for 16 years. I recently caught up with Joanne to talk about the secret to providing outstanding customer service, Clayton Glass, ‘the Clayton difference’ and more…
It is immediately obvious, when Joanne begins to speak her mind on customer service, that her main concern in her profession is building positive business relationships. “A company with high quality customer service will always have returning customers” says Joanne. This is something that is spoken, not only by Joanne herself, but by the high average length of time Clayton Glass does business with its clients (7+ years). Here, we delve into the secret to outstanding customer service.
It sounds obvious, but it serves to reason that if a customer feels respected and comfortable when dealing with a company, during any particular negotiation, that a further relationship will be sought out. With this knowledge in mind, you may be forgiven for thinking that a company may be somewhat two-faced in these kinds of negotiations. That the niceties are present for the sole purpose of acquiring your business.
When Joanne speaks about her customers it is clear this is not the case. It is abundantly plain, that the relationship she has with them extends a lot further than simply collecting a paycheque. “My job is about honesty” states Joanne in a serious tone. “something I will not do, is give a customer false promises. I will not lie. Because I want their business to flourish, and I can’t help them do that if I’m not honest.”. Joanne tells me that she will have the difficult conversation when necessary and not simply glaze over negative details. For Joanne, when it comes to customer service, honesty is the best policy.
I believe that everyone at Clayton Glass cares. That’s the Clayton difference.
I then ask Joanne how she feels when she produces a satisfied customer, and instantly her face lights up. “Happy!” she exclaims, “I get a buzz out of helping our customers achieve something that they want to achieve”. Joanne states this without a hint of cliché, as she struggles to contain the smile breaking out across her face. Unable to hide the powerful feeling that comes with being satisfied in your line of work.
Knowing your customer
The conversation then turns to Joanne’s customer’s various business ventures. Joanne explains that, in order for her to provide customer service of the highest order, she must know a customer’s business inside out. She expands on this by talking about the fact that the best decisions come from a well-informed mind. “If I am to advise our customers effectively, I need to know a lot about their business. As well as this, I need to know about the customer themselves.” says Joanne.
The purpose of me bringing this up was to garner how gaining information about a customer’s business would affect her customer service. But Joanne points out that you also have to get to know the people behind the business, and their various personalities, to create a lasting connection. Joanne says she will always meet her customers face to face if she gets the chance. “I believe being able to look into a customer’s eyes, listen to them, and advise them from a place of understanding. that’s real customer service.”.
Joanne’s place of work, Clayton Glass, now becomes the topic of conversation. “what is it that you enjoy about working here, Joanne?”. I ask, half expecting her to take a moment to think about it. “Definitely the people” Joanne fires back, almost straight away. Joanne explains that she’s now been with Clayton Class for 16 years. That she’s always loved the positive vibes she receives on a daily basis from those around her. “I’ve never known a group of such kind, passionate, driven people” she says. “sometimes I wonder if there’s something in the water!”.
Something I will not do, is give a customer false promises.
It is at this point in the interview that a beaming Joanne mentions the managing director at Clayton Glass, Ryan Green. “He is so approachable, he doesn’t live in an ivory tower” says Joanne referring to the friendly, hands-on approach that is often taken by the management at Clayton Glass. “I feel valued in my job at Clayton Glass” says Joanne, “and I believe that allows me to perform at my best”.
Keeping in touch
I then ask Joanne to compare the service customers receive at Clayton Glass, to that of other companies. Joanne explains that, via word-of-mouth from various customers and people in the industry, sometimes companies do not provide a certain level of ‘back-and-forth’. “people tell me that a company offers good services. Cheap prices. That they deliver on time. But the relationship ends there.” says Joanne, thoughtfully. She shrugs and says “it’s just not how we do things here.”
Joanne then explains to me that she will always get back to a customer. Whether it be, to answer any pressing questions, to clarify how well an on-going or recently completed project is performing, or to simply have a friendly chat. “It’s probably my favourite part of the job!” Joanne says, smiling. “Hearing about our customers ambitions and success stories, because I know we’ve played some part in that.”. Joanne then discusses how Clayton Glass’ long-term customers know that they can always pick up the phone, at any time, if they need anything, and they will get honest, reliable information from someone on the other end of the line who truly cares.
The Clayton Difference
The conversation then moves onto something that has been simmering under the surface throughout the interview. ‘The Clayton difference’. I ask Joanne how she defines this notion of ‘the Clayton difference’ and what it means to her. she tells me: “dealing with Clayton Glass is like a one-stop shop for the customer. To the best of our abilities they will get everything they ordered – on time, in full.”. Joanne pauses, taking her time to formulate her response. “they get high-quality, clean units. They get a relationship with a company who wants to work in partnership with its customers. On top of that they also get all the benefits of a highly experienced customer service team.” At this point, as the interview is drawing to a close, and I prepare to ask my final question, Joanne simply says “I believe that everyone at Clayton Glass cares. that’s the Clayton Difference.”
Turning attention to the woman herself, Joanne tells me that, in her spare time, she enjoys cycling, going to the gym, keeping fit and going out and socialising. But, she confesses with a smile, a large amount of her spare time is taken up by her two springer spaniels – Spencer and Mia – who require a large amount of exercise, “A lot of it [my spare time] is taken up by walking my dogs” she says, laughing.
In the opinion of this writer, having spoken to Joanne, the secret to outstanding customer service is really quite simple. Honesty, and the personal touch.
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