Generally, when planning for the growth of a business, customer service seems to be either a given, or an after thought in many businesses. Many of us feel we know what our customers want, and nearly all of us are surprised when we drill down into the details of satisfying our customer needs.
Good Customer Service is a key driver of profit. We know that customers talk to each other, and ultimately drive business through referral. Good Customer Service relates to many of the definitions of Marketing, one of which is “Anticipating our customers needs and satisfying those needs”. Ultimately this is what we are all trying to do. By understanding our customers, we generally find it easier to provide this type of service.
The big question is, do we really understand good customer service to be able to provide it? This is critical in any business. Understanding Customer Service principles is important, but also;
- Get to know your customers. Interact with them. Telephone them and ask questions that you want answered on their expectations of service met. Provide the ability to give feedback.
- Listen. Customers love to be listened to, so let them do the talking. If a customer tells you about how your business has failed, don’t worry. Take the information away & think about it, and how you are going to fix the problem.
- Communicate! If a customer excercises their right to advise you how to do things better. Follow up and thank them, even if its by email, and not a phone call. Don’t let the customer think you are making excuses. There is always an urge to make an immediate response to a criticism of your business. Don’t let the urge take over. Allow the customer to be heard, and answer the issues later.
- The customer is not always right. This is a misunderstood principle which directly relates to good customer service. You could translate this saying into “Alleviate the customers concerns through action & follow up” The bottom line is, customers need to be happy. If they are not, their purchasing decisions will change, and current & future sales can, and in many cases will be lost.
We will be doing many more posts on this topic as we feel that its a critical part of business. It doesn’t matter if you are selling Business to Business, or Business to Consumer, across all sectors, good customer service is vital.