THE IMPORTANCE OF CUSTOMER SERVICE
Most anyone will agree that customer service is one of the most important parts of your company’s overall strategy to conducting business. Without customers you really don’t have a business. If this is the case, why is it mostly everyone as consumers can easily mention examples of poor customer service in their daily lives? Every company either has or thinks it has good customer service. However, if certain steps are not taken to ensure this, the reality of their situation is often far worse than their current perceptions.
In any successful business or organization, the commitment to customer service always begins at the top, the company’s leaders must buy into the fact that they not only need to meet their customer’s expectations, they must strive to exceed them. They must develop a company culture that understands, embraces and executes this concept. In today’s world, business competition is tougher than ever. If you can’t provide goods or services when somebody wants or needs them, there are often four or five other companies immediately ready to fill this void. You only get one chance to make a good first impression. If the company’s leaders do not accept this fact, or are not willing to provide the necessary resources to meet their customer’s needs, they will soon find themselves scrambling for business.
Proper training is one way to develop a company culture that embraces excellent customer service. Every employee must understand implicitly what is expected of them when interacting with customers. Is there an established, uniform way to answer the phone? Are there set procedures in place for instances when a customer has a question or problem? Is there an established chain of command to make sure that issues are handled in a timely fashion? And most importantly is everyone trained to carry out these company procedures? How you handle the problem is far more important than the problem itself. A customer must always be made to feel as though their best interests are being given serious consideration, even when you can’t give in to their demands. It is far better to say ‘no’ with a smile, than ‘yes’ with an attitude.
Customer feedback is an excellent way to track and measure your level of service. You should not only benchmark your company against your competition, but also against the goals you set for yourself. Once again, you must remember you are trying to not only meet, but exceed your customer’s expectations. Written surveys are one way to gage customer satisfaction. This can be useful to obtain feedback on a wide variety of company functions. Always allow for written comments, as these usually will help shed light on problem areas. Management’s interaction with customers is an excellent way to not only measure overall efforts, but to also show the level of commitment the company has towards their needs. A manager who does not spend anytime with customers is likely to be detached and unaware of what their employees do and what their customers want. You always feel better if you have the chance to talk to someone who actually sets policy, not just someone paid to carry it out.
In today’s world of bigger, faster, better you need to be the company that gets it right the first time, and if you don’t, you must quickly rectify your mistakes. If you consistently make this part of how you conduct business, your customer’s loyalty will continue to grow. The surest way to continued success and future growth is to not only meet your customers expectations, but to exceed them at every possible turn.
Good customer service is the foundation of any business. It provides a platform for continued growth and helps to build your businesses reputation. You can offer promotions and slash prices to bring in as many new customers as you want, but unless you can get some of those customers to come back, your business won’t be profitable for long.
Good customer service is also about sending them away happy – happy enough to pass positive feedback about your business along to others, who may then try the product or service you offer for themselves, in their turn becoming repeat customers.