At a recent symposium I attended, I got into an interesting conversation with several industry peers. The topic was customer service. As total strangers, we had bonded over the topic. Why is it that so many organizations don’t seem to place importance on delivering a quality customer experience each and every time?
Sure, there are surveys that follow a trip to the dealership (where your service advisor politely tells you as you are leaving, that his entire livelihood hangs on whether you rank him a 10 or not). There are the vision statements that hang on the walls proclaiming the importance of the customer to the establishment. But what is it that truly creates an exceptional customer experience that solidifies customer loyalty and transcends pricing objections in a commodity market?
In my conversation, one of the gentleman made of a point of saying that every job description in their organization started with customer service…great idea!
When I think about companies that I am fanatically loyal to, it is those who have provided stellar customer service. It does not matter that they may have slipped up from time to time. But when they did, they acknowledge the mistake and they took quick action to fix it. They recognize me by name and thanked me for my business. They followed-up with sincerity and asked if they could do anything else.
At a time when customers are able to find whatever they want without ever interfacing with a prospective provider, the ability to embrace and retain a client is critical to a company’s sheer existence. So what is the true value of a happy customer?
A recent study provided this insight:
• 88% reported they have been influenced by an online customer service review when making a buying decision
• 54% shared bad experiences with more than five people and 33% shared good experiences with more than five people
• 62% of B2B and 42% of B2C customers purchased more after a good customer service experience
• 39% continue to avoid vendors two or more years after a bad experience
I am a firm believer that the commitment to Customer Service starts at the top. By treating employees with respect, we encourage them to treat our customers with respect. Customer appreciation and commitment must be part of our core being. Each and every interaction we have with a customer provides us with an opportunity to shine. Encourage your team members in every facet of your business to look for ways to delight the customer. It will make the customer happy and your employees happy too – happiness is contagious! Catch someone doing a great job of caring for your customers and let others know about it…we all like a pat on the back every now and then. No one ever won a battle with a customer, so when the going gets tough, fall on your sword and take the hit. Clients are far more likely to work through a tricky situation when you make the first move.
Above all be authentic. People know when it comes from the heart, and that is what keeps them coming back for more.