Customer Service: IS Your Business
No matter what kind of business you own, excellent customer service is an important part of your success. We all want to be treated nicely and to enjoy friendly service. Attracting new customers to your business is expensive, so once you have them, you simply can’t afford to lose them. Unfortunately, statistics show that the easiest way to lose customers is through a bad service experience. Sixty to seventy percent of customers who decide to switch from one business to another do so because of poor or indifferent customer service.
Great customer service is exactly what it sounds like—promptly helping customers find the items or services they are looking for with courtesy, politeness and professionalism. Depending on the industry, the actual flavor of customer service will vary. Some businesses deal directly with consumers and others cater to the needs of other businesses. No matter what your business does, striving to provide excellent service will keep customers coming back. After all, there are many business just like yours offering the same products and services. Most customers can go anywhere to find what they need, so your excellent service may the only thing that sets your business apart. Additionally, when a regular customer develops a good relationship with your business, he or she is likely to tell others about the positive relationship.
Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. It’s actually more likely that a customer will tell others about a bad shopping or service experience than a good one. Also, many customers will not even complain while they are at your place of business. Instead, most simply choose never to come back and encourage their friends or business associates to do the same. Too many business owners think that if they lose one customer, it is only one customer. In fact, many studies have shown that losing one customer actually translates into losing a multiple of that customer’s business, because that customer will tell many more people not to use your business.
Your customer service employees will leave a big impression on your customers beyond the actual product or service your company offers. It is important that you have the right type of people in these positions. Persons who are friendly, polite and good listeners are perfect for the role. Also, constant training on great customer service skills is important so that customers will have consistently great experiences. Training will also help your employees deal with any type of difficult situation in a calm and confident manner. Monitor your employees to ensure that quality service is given to every customer. Also think about using customer service satisfaction surveys. The feedback you receive will give you a better perspective on areas where improvement is needed.
There will always be a customer that cannot be satisfied. Sometimes it’s because of a mistake on your part, a misunderstanding by the customer or factors beyond the control of anyone. Poor customer service will just add to their frustration. Arguing with a customer will only infuriate the customer more. When a customer is unhappy with your product or service, the way he or she is treated can make the difference between a happy customer and an ex-customer. So act calmly and professionally, and assist the customer to the best of your ability.
Ultimately, remember the golden rule of customer service: treat your customers as you would like to be treated yourself. No one likes to be kept waiting, nor do they like poor service, especially when you are paying good money. Customers are not an interruption to your daily work routine; they are the reason why you work. Excellent customer service is the lifeline of your business. Over time it will pay the bills and help your business to profit, grow and thrive. Excellent customer service is even more vital during tough economic times.
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