I’m sure you’ve dealt with a business and come away underwhelmed by the service you’ve received. Maybe you’ve come away disappointed, frustrated or even angry? It happens all the time in restaurants and shops, utility companies, garages, banks, estate agents, solicitors and even government organisations.
The tragedy for those businesses is that they’ve probably spent a lot of time and money finding customers, for all that effort to be thrown away by poor customer service. Research shows that it costs 6-8 times more on average to find a new customer than it does to sell to an existing customer. So every interaction and transaction you make with a customer has to make them want to come back, again and again. If it doesn’t you’re throwing money down the drain.
Great customer service starts at the top. It’s the same for Virgin or for the shop around the corner. For startups the founder is the face of the business for the customer and customer service is often very good because they care. They care about their business, their customers and their reputation. The crunch often comes when the business grows and the owner no longer has the time to meet and take care of every customer. Now the owner has to rely on other people to have the same attitude towards the customer, to say and do the right thing and know what that is without having to ask.
And therein lies the problem. If the owner has been doing what comes naturally to them, they may not be aware of what worked, what didn’t and why. So they find it hard to select people with the same attitude to customer service, train them in the fundamentals and empower them to make the right decisions about what to do.
If you think your business might be missing out on profits because your customers don’t come back as often as they could, then here are four steps to get those profits back:
- Do the basics: treat people in the way they expect to be treated, deliver consistently and make it easy for them to buy
- Identify and cater to your target market: don’t try to please all of the people all of the time – it will drive you insane. Instead, segment your market aim to please them
- Sprinkle on a bit of magic: look out for those moments in which you can make a lasting good impression. How can you over-deliver, even in a small way (but particularly in a consistent way? How can you offer a more pleasant, rewarding or convenient experience than the customer was expecting? And if something goes wrong, how can you go out of your way to fix it? Recently, a client was in the unfortunate position that they thought they would loose a big contract because of a mistake they’d made. But after fixing the problem quickly and going above and beyond to remove any inconvenience caused, they were offered more work not less.
- Institutionalise it: encourage your team to notice when going the extra mile will pay off and empower them to do whatever it takes. Build a mythology around the stories that you create. And create systems that embody customer service excellence.
Any business can start at step 1 and build it up over time, gradually improving their service delivery beyond customer satisfaction.
If you’d like more details on these four steps illustrated with real life examples to inspire you and your team to delivering excellent service get in touch and we’ll email you a short but comprehensive guide.
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