Professionalism in Customer Service
If you want to develop a culture of excellence in the workplace, customer service is a vital place to start.
Professionalism in customer service is a subject we’re incredibly passionate about here at Hartman. We’ve been in business for 38 years largely on the strength of values like the exceptional service we instill in our employees and teams and the white glove service we provide to our tenants.
Contiue reading and you will learn what customer service and professionalism mean to us, and how any organization can put our principles into practice.
Covered in this article:
- Professionalism in Customer Service
- Professionalism in Customer Service: What Does It Mean?
- Why is Professionalism in Customer Service Important?
- How to Improve Your Professionalism in Customer Service
- Example of Professionalism in Customer Service
- Professionalism Qualities
Professionalism in Customer Service: What Does It Mean?
Professionalism in customer service is defined as displaying a courteous, helpful attitude at all times when interacting with customers. This includes being patient and respectful and taking the time to listen to customer concerns and addressing them accordingly.
At Hartman, the white glove customer service we provide to all our tenants combines that quality of authentic human connection with a dedication to going above and beyond in delivering a great experience. This means surpassing expectations when it comes to things like concierge services and amenities, doing daily check ins with tenants, or even proactively making health and safety improvements to air quality such as we did during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Everyone who works in customer service – from front-line staff to upper management – is responsible for maintaining a professional attitude. This is important because how you interact with customers reflects not only on you as an individual, but also on your company as a whole. Customers who have a positive experience with your business are more likely to return in the future and may also recommend your company to others. On the other hand, customers who have a negative experience are less likely to come back and more likely to tell others about their bad experiences.
In today’s competitive business world, it is crucial to provide excellent customer service in order to stand out from the crowd and attract new business. Read on to explore what it means to offer professionalism in customer service at a deeper level.
Why is Professionalism in Customer Service Important?
When it comes to customer service, customers expect prompt, courteous, and helpful service. They also expect that their inquiries will be addressed promptly and efficiently. Unfortunately, poor customer service is all too common, and it often occurs when one or more of these expectations are not met. As a result, customers can become frustrated and may even take their business elsewhere. To avoid this, businesses need to ensure that their customer service standards are high and that they are consistently meeting the needs of their customers.
At Hartman, one way we measure these standards is through our Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS is a market research standard that gauges the loyalty of a company’s customers. Our score is determined by voluntary surveys completed by tenants in which they’re asked to rate the likelihood that they would recommend our company.
“Much of our interview process is focused on alignment with core values and potential
Hartman’s NPS score is a full 30% above the industry average.
Consider what you can accomplish when your company achieves this level of success.
How to Improve Your Professionalism in Customer Service
At Hartman, professionalism in customer service has been a core value since our beginnings nearly four decades ago. But in today’s age of social media and online review sites, that dedication is more important than ever. Your customers are your brand ambassadors, and if they have a bad experience, they can quickly spread the word. So how can you ensure that your customer service is up to par? Here are a few tips:
Maintain Your Brand Promises
Your customers should always know what they can expect from your brand, and you should always deliver on those promises. Your brand promise is more than just a list of offerings on your website. It’s what comes to mind when someone sees your brand’s name printed on a building or written in the subject line of an email. What do you want your brand to stand for?
If you claim to be the best, professionalism in customer service is one key way to back it up. One example of this might be a commitment to a specific turnaround time for maintenance requests. Whatever time you advertise to your customers, you should ensure you deliver. If you’re consistently falling short, it’s time to evaluate your system for handling these requests in a proactive and systematic way.
Care About the Customer
Above all else, your customers should feel like you care about them and their experience. Show them that you’re invested in their satisfaction, and that their problems are your problems. In interactions, mention any specifics you know about their unique business. They’ll be more likely to stick with you when you show them you care and follow through on your promise to treat them as an individual customer, not just part of your bottom line.
Leave Arrogance Behind
There is a difference between confidence and arrogance in customer service. The difference is, arrogance has no place in any customer interaction. Always remember that you’re there to help the customer and answer their questions, not to boss them around or make them feel bad if they don’t understand. Be humble and helpful, and your kindness will earn their respect.
Etiquette is Everything
Good manners will take you far in life – and in business so treat your customers with courtesy and respect as it will establish trust. You would do well to never assume that standard social etiquette will be common sense among your employees. There’s nothing wrong with formalizing a training process on how to reply when picking up a phone call to the best way to communicate via email.
Be Confident and Know Your Product
Confidence is key in customer service. Your customers need to believe that you know what you’re talking about— so make sure you do! Be knowledgeable about your product or service, and be ready to answer any questions they might have. If you don’t have an answer, happily connect your customer with someone who does.
When a problem arises, don’t just offer excuses – offer solutions. Apologize for any inconvenience, and then let the customer know what you will do to fix the problem. If you handle it well, they’ll remember your professionalism the next time they need a product or service like yours.
Example of Professionalism in Customer Service
In 2017, Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston— directly impacting several Hartman properties, Hartman employees’ homes, and many of our tenants’ homes and business spaces.
In regular Hartman fashion, the firm quickly instituted daily company-wide calls to discuss who needed assistance, what they needed, and how we could deliver it. We also insisted on daily updates on damage to properties and tenant spaces and discussed how we could bring help to these locations as quickly and effectively as possible.
Meanwhile, our Employee Assistance Committee served our tenants and employees by helping them register for FEMA assistance, scheduling pet pickups and relocation, and more.
Additionally, some individual employees went as far as relocating their families to affected properties and slept on air mattresses so they could actively assess damages and create individualized recovery plans for tenants.
The result? Our employees were taken care of and could in turn provide excellent customer service to our tenants who were affected.
Remember— professionalism in customer service is more than a lofty goal. It’s what results from following a proven framework that includes:
- Maintaining brand promises
- Caring about your customers
- Never giving in to arrogance
- Practicing good etiquette
- Being confident and knowing your products
- Offering solutions, not excuses
Whether you feel your customer service approach is strong or could use some work, it’s never a bad time to reassess your approach. Consider areas where you could strengthen your interactions with customers, then develop a plan to follow. Don’t forget to share your plan with your employees and encourage them to take ownership of next steps. Soon you’ll find that you’re better equipped to deliver on the values that mean so much to your business.
Enjoy Hartman’s white glove customer service every day, get in contact with a leasing agent.
About the author:
Sarah Hoopes is the Marketing Coordinator at Hartman Income REIT. She is a graduate of Utah Valley University with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Business Management.