It would be great if providing good customer service was something that came naturally, but the truth is, it takes training and personal motivation to meet the customer’s needs. A company should make customer service a priority since over 65% of a typical company’s business comes from existing customers, noting it can cost about five times more to get new customers than it does to market to existing ones. So let’s explore ways to improve on customer service and how the Internet and social media impact your success.
Customer service to me means a deep rooted desire to do the right thing. All too often people just roll over and take bad business for the sake of customer service forgetting it is really about working together with your customers to be partners in their business. Being open and transparent with all of your stakeholders and following the golden rule.
Businesses should continually improve their customer service, noting customer’s needs may change the longer the relationship continues. Again, having a deep rooted desire to do what is right and making sure the people who are interacting with your customers have that same passion. Start by writing down your passions on paper, create your motto and actually live by it. It is not good enough to just have this motto on your business card, rather you need to continually make your business decisions based on this mindset to ensure long term customers.
Frequently reviewing your customer service practices so they can be modified to stay current. Most importantly, leave your ego at the door! I have seen way too many small businesses get involved in emotional ego driven spats with customers or even made decisions about operating their company based on emotions. For example, small businesses in our industry get upset with difficult customers instead of looking at their decision to price a job too low, not giving a full explanation of a project or having them sign off on a proof before production. Simple things that could have been completed to prevent a conflict with a customer. Personally, I cannot make my problems my customers’ problems. They are coming to us for a product/service to solve their problem/need, not to create more issues. This means, before you explain why you cannot do something for them, ask yourself, why do they care? Can you fix your problem without even letting them know? Overall, just taking the time to think through some procedures and provide training to those who will be representing your company will take you on the path of great customer service.
With the Internet, social media and websites like Angie’s List and Yelp, the customer has several sources to express their level of satisfaction with the service provided by your company. These tools have now made providing excellent customer service a necessity as anything less may lead to a bad review that can be difficult to recover from as a business. On the positive side, these tools help companies learn what customers need and want for services. Further, businesses can respond quickly to any issues if these websites are monitored closely and will improve the relationship.