When people talk about great companies, what are the first names usually mentioned? Places like Apple, Land’s End and Zappos almost always top the list. Why?
People like these business because they have outstanding customer service. In fact, customer service is a key part of these companies’ brands. Their customers have great experiences with them, feel respected and spread the word. By now, stories of great service from these companies are legendary.
It stands to reason, then, that the opposite is true. If your company provides bad customer service—whether it’s rude, indifferent, ineffective or nonexistent—people will also talk about you. But not in a way you’d like. Poor customer service can kill your business if you don’t do it well.
Customer Service Can Drive Profit
Many businesses continue to treat their customer service as a cost center, despite the fact that if it’s good, it drives business and profitability. How about taking a different view of customer service and treating it more like a profit center?
Here’s how you can take some lessons from the pros, kick your customer service up several notches, and enjoy success in any economy:
- Create flexible rules. Nothing upsets an already unhappy customer more than a customer representative saying they can’t satisfy a request because of company policy. Consider the approach at the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain, where regardless of position, every staff member can spend as much as $2,000 of the company’s money without seeking approval to resolve a guest’s problem. This approach works with a smaller budget, too. Hire great people and trust them to do the right thing for your customers.
- Treat your customers once in awhile. Nothing delights a customer or client more than when a company unexpectedly provides them with an upgrade or additional value without being asked.
- Turn complaints into opportunities. Most businesses view customer complaints as problems. But many products and services are created as a result of complaints, and new products and services are the lifeblood of all businesses. When you hear a customer complaint, ask yourself, “What opportunity is hidden in this?”
- Apologize when necessary. Companies are comprised of human beings, which means that mistakes are bound to happen. It’s what you do about these mistakes that matters most. If you make a mistake, take responsibility for it immediately. Apologize and ask what you can do to make it up to them.
What can you do in your business to provide unexpected value? Can you extend the warranty on your services? Call customers back within two hours of receiving their calls? Offer cold bottled water and fresh coffee to those who are waiting? Please your customers, and your satisfied customers will become company ambassadors.
At Synerfac, we know all about great companies because we work with them! If you’re interested in partnering with us, or in working for one of our clients, don’t hesitate to contact us today!