“All organizations should strive to provide excellent customer service.”
That’s an obvious statement, right? I seriously doubt many people would disagree with it. Unfortunately, it’s not the reality it should be.
Many companies talk the talk, but surprisingly few of them walk the walk. In fact, there’s so much subpar (and even downright awful) customer service out there that local TV news teams and newspapers often have dedicated “consumer advocates” on staff who help people resolve their customer service complaints with companies. One consumer-oriented blog, Consumerist (a subsidiary of Consumer Reports), is so popular that it gets nearly 400,000 unique page views each month.
A 2012 post on Forbes.com cites a Genesys study indicating that “bad customer service costs organizations $338.5 billion globally per year in lost business.” If you don’t want your organization to contribute to that hefty tab, then take some time to evaluate—and, if necessary, retool—your approach to customer service.
It’s one thing to say “We care about our customers,” but quite another to actually care about them. Never forget that your company’s reputation is on the line every time you interact with a customer.
Back in February I wrote about brand loyalty and how exceptional and positive experiences with a company can create fiercely loyal customers. How you handle customer interactions can have a huge impact on your organization’s future. It plays a large role in helping a customer determine whether to stick with you … or move over to your competitor.
The customer experience starts with the first impression made by your sales and marketing team. But it’s solidified by the ongoing service and support a customer receives as his or her relationship with your company continues. Although you can impress your customers in hundreds of ways, the simplest and most effective approach to make them happy is to fulfill your promises to them.
Make it your top priority to do what you say you’re going to do and to do it in a timely fashion. If you tell a customer that you’re going to take care of an issue, follow up on a problem, or drop something in the mail, then do it. No excuses.
Remember, sales and marketing can win new customers, but exceptional service keeps them from answering the call from your competitors. Companies that forget this important fact do so at their peril.