The latest "10X10" (ten tips and ten resources) from RealTime Performance is about customer service. It's a useful list of ideas for improving employee performance as it relates to customer service and a book title that corresponds to each suggestion. Employees can read these books to learn more about each idea.
The key to most successful relationships with customers, as it is in all relationships, is a sense of mutual trust. This "10X10" offers some suggestions for building trust. For example, one tip is:
Grant employees as much autonomy as possible when working with customers to meet their current and future needs. At Ritz-Carlton, every employee has the ability to exercise judgment in spending up to $2,000 per day, per guest to resolve issues and enhance the guest experience. What companies like Ritz-Carlton have realized over the years is that the least costly solution is the one that happens immediately. The more time a customer complaint or an issue has to grow, the bigger and more costly it becomes. Trust your employees to resolve customer issues when and where they happen.
Being responsive to customers, even if you can't fulfill their requests, helps build trust. We know from our own experiences as customers that we quickly lose trust in people who take an unreasonably long time to do what they said they were going to do. And giving employees the responsibility and authority to resolve customer issues, goes a long way toward building their trust in you, as well as enhancing employee engagement.