Hugg & Hall Equipment Company is dedicated to providing excellence in customer service. The company strives to continuously improve and created the “Customer Service Series” as an outlet for sharing customer service ideas and strategies with the purpose to both enhance the experience of the Hugg & Hall customer and to provide a place for collaborative thinking.
Customer service is a concept that elicits various ideas and strategies. Hugg & Hall created the Customer Service Series to provide a place for ideas and collaboration, especially as it relates to how company professionals serve their customers. Brian Robinson, Regional Rental Sales Manager at Hugg & Hall, recently spoke on the make-or-break importance of customer service in the equipment rental industry.
“Exceeding the customers’ needs first and foremost,” said Robinson, when asked to define great customer service. “Blow their mind. My customer service mission is: ‘Listening, Acting, Following-up, Thanking, Repeat!’”
When asked to describe why customer service is so important to an organization, Robinson stressed that Hugg & Hall is a service company so valuing the customer relationship is intrinsic.
“We are a service company and we must all carry that mindset, said Robinson. “They are the boss. It can be the success or death of a company in today’s business world.”
When thinking about customer service as a whole, it’s important to not think too broadly or to eliminate the significance of day-to-day interactions with customers, according to Robinson.
“We’re getting there,” said Robinson. “It’s hard work and it never stops. We keep digging in and improving one deal at a time. One mishap, ball-drop, sleeping at the wheel and our customer can be gone.”
Robinson said that members of his team can improve by honing their listening skills and learning how to identify solutions to customers’ needs.
“Listening,” said Robinson, when asked how his team could improve. “Really, really listening to what our customers’ needs are and following through on meeting and exceeding their needs.”
The biggest obstacles to great customer service are not paying attention and not following through, according to Robinson. Not understanding their client’s needs and not following through on obligations can be detrimental to the trust necessary for a good customer relationship.
“Not paying attention to the details, not truly listening to the customers needs,” said Robinson on the topic of bad customer service. “Most importantly not executing on their needs. I guess what frustrates me is when people take the lackadaisical approach on customer service. They just go through the motions with no excitement, no extra.”
Robinson views client service as trainable and fluid and understands it as a method of differentiating one’s business from that of a competitor’s.
“It’s definitely trainable,” said Robinson of client service. “It’s just important that they keep an open mind and listen to what works and duplicate that over and over again. As our business gets more and more competitive, we have to separate ourselves at being the best at customer service. This is key.”
Managers can motivate their teams to better their customer service skills by framing it as a mutually beneficial concept.
“It puts more dollars in their pockets,” said Robinson. “A great customer service experience resonates with people and it’s contagious. This equates to repeat business and new business thus more money to the old checking account. It’s that simple.
Robinson also noted that coworkers should hold each other accountable in relation to customer service because they are representing the entire organization and it can affect more than their personal reputation.
“They represent Hugg & Hall and we strive to always be the best,” said Robinson.
When asked what his advice would be to those seeking to improve their customer service skills and what one thing he’d like each Hugg & Hall employee to remember about customer service, Robinson again emphasized the importance of listening in order to implement effective customer service.
“Listen, listen, listen to the customer,” said Robinson. “Let them talk. Listen to the customers’ needs closely, walk the customer through what works best for them, exceed what they were after in the first place (give them the cake, the icing and plate of brownies). Blow their minds, build their confidence in you and your company. Duplicate this over and over and you become a customer service wizard.”