Your company makes its profits from customer service. That’s right. It’s not your unique product offering or your innovative solution that makes money for your business. It’s how you treat your customers.
Peter Cheales, who established the hugely successful customer service website hellopeter.com in 2000, says, “Your customers are not always right, but you have to maintain a relationship with them, nonetheless. Because without customers you don’t have a business.”
What differentiates great and dreadful service? You need a proper strategy in order to provide remarkable service to your customers. Nowadays many businesses offer identical products and services, so what can you do to set yourself apart from the crowd? You can offer outstanding customer service.
Will bad customer service crash your business?
We all know the high failure rate of start-ups in South Africa. Some 75% of SMEs fail within the first year. One of the reasons put forward by Cheales is that they spent more time considering what their company could give them, rather than what their company could give its customers. The aim of a business is not to make a profit: It is to create customers.
Five steps to great customer service
1. Added value
This is what sets you apart from your competitors. It’s what makes you special and is the reason that your customers keep coming back. People buy from people, so you need to work on ‘Brand You’, with the focus being on what you —personally — do for your customers, not what you delegate to others. Treat customers as individuals, give them personalised service.
2. Quality experience
What does your customer think of when they are doing business with you? Are you nice to do business with or do they dread having to deal with you? You need to create customer delight so that they enjoy giving you their hard-earned money. Do this by being available and accessible to customers. Don’t make your customers feel like outsiders, welcome them into your business and make them feel part of the club.
3. Superior service
Always under-promise and over-deliver. Don’t ever make excuses for bad service, tell customers the truth instead of trotting out the same old stories. Show customers that you care by taking their concerns seriously. There is a definite correlation between the amount of information you give your customers and the amount of money you make. So communicate with them, regardless of whether it’s good or bad news.
4. Lightning response
Be specific in your commitments to customers, set deadlines and have self-imposed penalties for not meeting them. There’s no excuse for delayed service delivery, so don’t make any. Just make sure that you fix the problem and do it quickly and personally. Don’t pass them from pillar to post and don’t make promises you can’t or won’t keep.
Can your customer be comfortable that you’ll deliver on your promises? You control the customer experience. How comfortable do you make your customer feel when he or she is buying from you? If you show passion and enthusiasm for what you do, it will rub off on the customer. This attitude flows from the top down, so don’t expect your receptionist to smile at customers if you don’t.
Connect at Hellopeter
You have the expertise but where are the customers? Find out here
How do you ensure that your customers are satisfied? Tell us in the comments section below…