We live in a strange time. One in which much is said about customer service and yet as customers we seem to wait longer in lines, are on hold longer on the phones, and we talk to a much grouchier group of people when we do get through. It seems that customer service has less to do with service as it does with just surviving till the end of the day!
And yet, as I said, we live in strange times. In what often seems to be a customer service wasteland, there are more and more businesses that have made a “beyond reasonable measure” effort to meet the needs of their customers and to provide customer service that sets the bar higher than ever before! These companies know from experience that the cost of making new customers is much higher than the cost of keeping customers happy, repeat buying, and referring.
The key to happy customers is how they are cared for after the sale. So, what can entrepreneurs and start-ups learn from these “customer-centric” companies? Here are just a few thoughts:
- Great customer service comes from a service oriented business culture. When the overall culture of the company is service oriented from the front office to the care of vendors, to meeting the needs of both employees and customers; great customer service is a natural by product.
- Great customer service comes from people empowered to care for the customer. If someone handling a customer’s concerns does not have the authority to take action “right now” the customer may well do business elsewhere the next time. Quick action and empowered employees make great customer service.
- Great customer service comes from a genuine belief in the value of your product/service. When something that you believe is best for the customer (your product/service) doesn’t live up to its value, your belief in the product/service should motivate you to make the customer’s experience right!
There are certainly other things that can/do make customer service work well. These are at least a starting point. What do you think? What have you done in your business to make the customer’s experience right? What great service have you been given from other companies that brought you back a second time?