Customer Service ExcellencePosted: July 23, 2013
We’ve all heard the expression “the customer is always right”. For SMB owners, I’d modify this to read, “give customers what they want on their own terms.” In other words, focus your business on satisfying customer needs.
One of the best examples of customer service can be found on the retail level, a restaurant for example. Imagine you owned and operated a local coffee shop. Which feature do you think would give you the best advantage in the competition for customers?
- The best prices?
- The best location?
- The best coffee?
The answer is simple; none of the above matters if you don’t have any customers. Sure you’ll always have the regulars, but after time even they will leave when they realize they can get what you are offering down the street at another café where they offer free Wi-Fi and have a loyalty program, for example.
Do your policies serve only your interests or those of your customers? In the case of the coffee shop, do the costs of not offering free Wi-Fi outweigh the actual cost of paying for it? When it comes to satisfying your customer – absolutely! What about your policies on business hours or additional fees? Are your solutions based on ways to boost margins or on offering a competitive advantage?
Many small businesses are not focused on what’s most important to the customer. They sell what they have, rather than what the customer is buying.
To help grow your business, you’ll need to ask your current customers several questions to find out what’s important to them, why they keep coming back, and how you can improve your service. When you complete a project, ask your customer for immediate feedback. Ask them if you did a good job and what one thing could you improve on to make it a better experience.
When you directly engage your customer in your process improvement, not only does it leave your customer with a positive feeling, but it also helps you improve your service offering to meet the needs of your customer. The result is a win-win for you both.
Many successful business owners know that the best salesman is their customer. If you treat them right, they’ll walk out the door and sell for you.
Do you feel good customer service is over rated or is it a key to your success? Do you have good customer service policies at your office? Please let me know what you think in your comments below.