Great Customer Service: A Key To Success
It’s as inevitable as death and taxes: everyone reading this has, at one point or another, had to call in to a company’s customer service line. You know the drill – get bounced around an automated system, push 1 for English, and eventually you wind up with a bored, disinterested representative on the line who doesn’t answer your questions, ignores some of your issues, and isn’t paid enough to care about your problem. Anyone who’s had to make one of these calls can tell you the experience is an unpleasant one, often leaving you with a bad taste in your mouth and a lowered opinion of the company you attempted to call.
It’s obvious that you don’t enjoy the experience of receiving poor customer service from the customer’s perspective. It should be just as obvious, then, that your own customers and clients won’t enjoy it when the shoe is on the other foot.
Keeping your clients and customers happy is an essential part of any business. I don’t mean kowtowing to every demand a customer makes of you. You are, after all, a business -not a door mat. But doing everything reasonable within your power to make sure that your clients are happy with the product or service you’re providing for them is critical.
Always keep in mind that a happy customer is a returning customer. Someone who is dissatisfied with what you’re offering most likely won’t be coming back. New business is great, and essential for growth, but return business is where the real money is. You want them to keep coming back, so that they keep giving you their hard earned money. You want them contributing to your PIE over the long term.
What’s more, there is a force multiplier effect that comes from giving people a genuinely positive customer service experience. I’m not just talking a satisfying experience – you’re expected to deliver that. I’m talking a great experience. Somebody who has had a great experience with your business will in turn tell their friends and family. People talk. This has been true since we first came down from the trees and grunted at each other to communicate, and it’s still true today. You can spend millions on commercials, online marketing, billboards, classified ads and a virtually limitless array of marketing options for getting your name and business out there, but word of mouth remains the single most important persuasive factor in nearly every business interaction. Never lose sight of that.
Remember, without clients, your business is doomed to fail. Nobody likes being on the wrong end of a losing endeavor. Keeping your clients happy, coming back, and telling their friends and family, will put you on the path to ensuring that success.
So how can you provide great customer service? Listen to your clients and customers – find out what they want and need, and deliver it. Ensure you have the systems in place to handle communication with your clients and your team – whether it’s an email auto-responder and communications program, a dedicated customer service line, or smoke signals and carrier pigeons, make sure you have the tolls you need to ensure you never leave one of your clients or potential clients waiting on a response, because they won’t wait long.
In the end, you’re a human being. You’re not perfect, and you’re not going to get everything right. People understand that. My motto is, if you don’t get it right, then make it right. Deliver an experience your clients will want to write home about, and when you don’t meet that standard, make it right quickly and painlessly. Put yourself in their shoes and make them happy – just the way you would want a business to treat you.