Premium customer service generates wealth. This simple principle is often lost in the shuffle of day-to-day business, and as a result, the bottom line suffers.
Only a few can remember the milkman pulling up to their door in his horse-drawn delivery wagon, but many can remember having their gas pumped, their windshield washed and their oil checked without asking for those services to be performed. Customer service is the timeless cornerstone of growth of any business. In days past, businesses understood that going the extra mile for a customer brought them back again and again. That concept is no less true today than it was 50 or a hundred years ago, yet modern companies frequently fail to utilize this proven, ironclad method of growing a business.
For Superior Customer Service, Walk a Mile in Their Shoes
Identifying with the customer is critical. Humans have emotions. Emotions drive action. If a customer is distressed and the customer service representative is numb to that distress, the issue will be difficult to resolve and the customer's future business will likely be lost.
The 2007 Aspect Contact Center Satisfaction Index - North America states: Nearly 75 percent of consumers who have had a bad experience say they will do less business with a company.
A lost customer is a cancer cell that grows and spreads until a business is destroyed from the inside out. Excellent word of mouth is spoken gently. Bad word of mouth is screamed.
Fatten the Bottom Line with Customer Relations Excellence
Train first and advertise later. It makes little sense to spend precious advertising dollars to bring in business if there are no procedures in place to capture and keep those new customers. Train thoroughly and expect every employee to provide stellar customer service as well as know when to escalate an issue to someone with greater authority.
Put the customers concerns first. "Ma'am, if you don't stop yelling, I will end this call" is not a resolution. "I'm sorry, but Bob did that. I didn't know" is not a resolution. A distressed customer should be thought of as a wheel about to fall off your business train. Fix it quickly and completely. The loss of too many wheels will run any train right off the track.
Cherish your customers before they buy. Exposing potential customers to the kind of service they could expect if they become actual patrons of your business not only helps turn a potential into an actual, but it lays the foundation for solid, repeat business.
Employ a two-step process. After customer service transactions, discuss the events to see what might have been done differently to clear the situation earlier or easier.
In his book, INDISPENSABLE: How to Become the Company That Your Customers Cant Live Without, best-selling author and motivational speaker, Joe Calloway, states, "Indispensable companies are the ones that win the bid even though a competitor came in with a lower price. They are the ones who we'll drive out of our way to patronize even though we could buy the same product at a more convenient location."
From the smallest mom and pop enterprise to the top of the Fortune 500, customers will choose the company that respects their needs and provides world-class care. The measure of a company's bottom line begins and ends at the core customer service. Going above and beyond paves the way to the golden road of success.