You have your product or service. You have your staff. You have your business space. You are all set up. What else do you need, right? Unless you have customers, however, you don’t have a business to begin with – no matter how life-changing your product or service is. Despite that we live in the age of free-market capitalism, this notion remains unclear to some business owners.
There is this baseless false belief that there will always, no matter what, be a constant flow of customers through the door. Companies that could flourish, given a correct customer service approach, don’t, and some even close down. Why does this happen? It is simple. It all comes down to 3 fundamental elements – competition, public relations, and reliability.
Yes, you are a business owner, but somewhere you are a customer too. This is the easiest way to see this. If you do not like how one company serves you, you will be less likely to use its products or services again. Why return when there are competitors who want your money far more and will try much harder to retain you as a customer? When choosing a hotel or a restaurant, you may check their reviews. Nothing can tell you better about that business than non-biased customers who have already experienced it firsthand. Why book a hotel or visit a restaurant that does not care about its bad public relations? Finally, if you do not have trust in a company and cannot get through to an actual human being that can represent it, would you even bother dealing with them again? I know I wouldn’t. We are all looking for a reliable company that is transparent in its operations.
Providing high-quality customer service can help you stay on top of all the above. It can help you gain loyalty from your customers, improve your PR status and increase your accountability. Face it; problems are unavoidable. That’s the truth – there is no such thing as perfection. It’s that phenomenon, what you call it – life, right? You can, however, be proactive and prepare yourself to deal with those problems by being a reputable company. But you cannot do this without providing consistently impeccable customer service. Everything is about likeability today, and word of mouth spreads fast, especially via social media. Customers are at least twice more likely to share a bad experience with other people than a good experience. Ouch.
People nowadays are willing to pay more given you make them feel special by experiencing excellent service. Hence, customer service has become much more important than the price tag. This is crucial to grasp, given that the customers are the ones who pay you your wages or make you a wealthier business owner. Companies that are notable for their incredible customer service all have one thing in common – they concentrate on the needs of their customers and work backward into the company. For example, Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, said:
“We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.”
Therefore, every employee in your company should be working to satisfy the customers – be it a developer in your IT company or a cleaner in your restaurant.
The goal of every business should be to turn its customers into clients. Yes, there is a fine distinction. Many of us use the two terms interchangeably, however, they carry different weights. Customers can be one-time users of a product/or service. Someone who drops by a convenience store on the other side of town just because they were passing by is a customer – someone who may never buy there again. Clients, on the other hand, are loyal and will return to your business if they have had a good experience. For example, take Apple:
“Once you go, Mac, you’ll never go back”.
Apple managed to build its grand fan base, and many of its users would not even imagine using any other computer products. Granted, it is easier to gain clients for some businesses than others. Nevertheless, it shows you how client experience matters. On this blog, I sometimes refer to the clients of your business as customers, just for simplicity purposes.
Finally, please do not get sidetracked by the legendary maxim:
“The customer is always right”.
Even after I have mentioned all of the above, this is not always true. If you follow that ideology, customers may abuse your business. Customers are not always right. Would they be right if they steal from you? Don’t forget – they are human too. As a business owner, you must remember to act with logic. You will certainly have great, loyal, and honorable customers, but there is nothing to guarantee that any customer out there won’t try to cheat the system. Be wary. Train your customer service team correctly. They should respect and value honest customers but be rigid, yet still professional and well-mannered, with the ones who try to bend the rules.
So, can you compare your customer service team with the likes of Amazon or Apple? Do you believe that customer service is one of the reasons your customers return to your restaurant or hotel? If not, do not worry. Let’s train your customer service team to ultimate professionalism so that your business succeeds. I offer a variety of workshops and seminars that can do just that! All you have to do is reach out. For now, perhaps you would be interested to read how to improve your customer service via email or live chat.
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