Ahhh…customer service. You elusive Siren of the business seas; your beauty is as ravishing as your song. How I hear your call like Odysseus did and I too beg to be taken to your rocky shores. Beat me. Abuse me. Make me feel as if it is my own fault. How foolish I was to hand over my wealth my meager earnings in the pursuit of your false benefits, it is obvious that I am to blame! Oh, customer service! How I would give my kingdom for you!
In mocking the loss of great – heck even adequate would suffice – customer service it has become increasingly common that consumers are no longer putting up with it. The economy cannot always be the fall guy for poor service. Even in booming economies customer service stunk (certain cell phone providers and airlines come to mind.) It is becoming more and more evident that businesses forget that buying decisions are emotional decisions – not rational or logical. Customer service is an expectation that is not limited to developed economies; it is part of any business transaction across the globe.
Your business can make huge gains if it invests in delivering exceptional customer service. They way most business stink at customer service; the bar to exceptional is not that high!
Three things cannot be hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. – Buddha
The Hard Truth
Recent surveys have demonstrated that 50% of customers will leave a business after the first poor experience. 48% percent of customers will leave after being wronged a second time. The majority of customers, 63%, believe that customer service has not improved and gotten worse.
Here is some additional information for you to devour:
- 91% of customers believe service is an important factor in making a purchase.
- 81% of customer will cease doing business after bad customer service.
- 70% will want an apology coupled with a form of reimbursement.
- 65% will let their friends, colleagues, and family know of their troubles.
- 50% will now post something about it online.
- 24% of customers believe the companies they conduct business with work to keep it.
The simple truth is that your brand, image, and business will suffer. The most profitable customer to any business is the repeat customer. They too are not willing suffer poor customer service lightly.
Have you checked the status of your customer service lately?
You can start right where you stand and apply the habit of going the extra mile by rendering more service and better service than you are now being paid for. – Napoleon Hill
The 5 Steps To Exceptional Customer Service
The great news is that with all that bad customer service out there you can wipe your competition’s clock. You simply need to establish what excellent looks like and then shoot to achieve it!
That sounds simple, and it is. Here is what your should do immediately to keep your current customers happy and grow your business:
- Have a formal declaration of what your customer service is. This will set the floor for expectations. In the famous – if not urban legend – story about Nordstroms is that they will take anything back, even if they do not sell it. As the story goes they took back snow tires; they do not sell snow tires. One thing that is not legend is that at Nordstroms they do not close the store until the last customer leaves. Even if it is after the store’s posted hours. They understand that some customers need time to make a decision and no one likes to be rushed. Telus webmail down
- Acknowledge failure when it happens and provide solutions. I know some companies will not do that for the fear of a dreaded lawsuit. Yet people are fallible, products fail, and mistakes happen. Most customers just want the acknowledgement that something went wrong and are looking for solutions. They have made an investment of wealth and emotion to buy your product – help them when it fails.
- Remove the “guilty until proven otherwise” mentality from your company. If you do not remove this mentality from your business you will always have an underlying us versus the customer feeling to every interaction. Yes, some people are trying to scam the system – or any system – more times than not these individuals are not repeat customers anyway. If you kill them with kindness they tend to go away.
- Talk to your customers and ask them what they desire. I might as well kick a dead horse along with everyone else: have the airlines actually asked their customers what they want? Talk about poor service they might as well make everything self-serve on the flight, since it practically feels that way. Companies cannot exist without customers willing to buy their products and services. Your best bet in beating expectations is to ask your customers what they expect.
- Never rest on your laurels. Customer service is always evolving. How you change with the tastes and desires of your customers will determine if you maintain an exceptional level of customer service or not. Promote successful customer service interactions internally and externally with the mindset of seeking to improve on what was accomplished. Continue to deliver service even after the sale has long been concluded.