Is customer service a department in your company? Is customer service simply the title of an order entry department? Is customer service an empty shell, long on rhetoric but short on delivery? Does the term customer service actually mean anything, or is it a leftover expression from an era of days gone by?
Superior customer service is indeed alive and well alive and working at many progressive companies, both large and small. Customer service is not simply a term or a department, but rather an attitude and a manner of doing business. It boils down to caring and adhering to the golden rule…"to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. "
Superior customer care has declined to such an extent that some firms are actually promoting their own efforts at providing customer service as a unique benefit of dealing with their firm. Unfortunately, that is an apt description of the current state of customer service provision from most companies. Most companies do not get it. They are so consumed with the bottom line that they miss one of the most important factors in growing their business: The customer is king. He always has been and always will be. Customers, customer satisfaction and retention should drive all other facets of a company.
The relevant cost of acquiring a new customer is high. Marketing, advertising and other functions utilized to attract new customers are expensive and require a period of time to work successfully. Many prospects do not become new customers until perhaps the 7th or 8th exposure to the company's marketing efforts. Customer service then, is the cost of retaining that customer. Customer retention should be a driving force behind the successful operations of every company. It simply makes good business sense to keep that new customer as well as those repeat customers. How often is a new customer “soured" because of a perception of poor attitude or lack of caring on the part of an employee?
Depending on the type of business operation, companies must embrace developing superior customer service in a variety of modes. In a small retail or food establishment, where minimum-wage workers are often employed, this is difficult. One area that is destined to improve how customers are treated is for the owner of the company to treat their employees fairly, with respect and with a receptive attitude concerning their ideas. This attitude and practice will spillover and the end customers will often be treated in the same manner. The mid-size and large companies must provide specific training for all employees, especially for those with any direct contact with customers. Employees must be cognoscente of what is expected by their employer, the importance of their dealings with the customers and how the implementation of these policies directly impacts their own success and employment. Simply stated, if there are no customers, there is no need for their job.
Place yourself in your customers’ shoes. That should be easy since we are all customers sometimes, no matter what we do for a living. How do you like to be treated? Do you want to be forgotten? Do you feel that the company you do business with should value you and your business? Do you appreciate little “extras" that are not always necessary but pleasant and beneficial? When you are pleased with your treatment from a firm, are you happy to make recommendations to your family and friends about dealing there? Learn to transfer these answers into the way you treat your customers. The golden rule applies.
Human nature, being what it is, is the common thread among us all. We all want to be treated fairly, confirmed of the value we bring and have a sense that others care about us. We are all other people! In many ways, regardless of ethnicity, religion or background, we all want the same things. Remember this fact and do your part to offer superior customer service by performing your duties in a manner reflective of the way you also wish to be treated. Your success is guaranteed. If this attitude is encouraged in every department in every company, customer service will never be a department, but rather the attitude or mindset of the company. As the sum of its internal parts, the firm will reflect this mindset guaranteeing superior customer service and previously unheard of customer retention.
Daniel Sitter is the author of the popular, award-winning e-book, Learning For Profit . Designed for busy people, his new book teaches simple, step-by-step accelerated learning skills, demonstrating exactly how to learn anything faster than ever before. Learning For Profit is currently available from the author’s web site http://www.learningforprofit.com/ and from a variety of online book merchants. Mr. Sitter is a contributing writer for several internet and traditional publications. His expertise includes sales, marketing, self-improvement and general business topics.