Cashing in on Customer Service

I’m sure I speak for more than myself when I say that in my lifetime I have experienced some of the best – and some of the worst – customer service that business has to offer. When it comes to the bad, I always walk away thinking how damaging that person is to the company where they work and it astounds me that they keep employees like that on their front line. Excellent customer service sometimes seems to be a dying art. People are busy, stressed about their personal lives or just hate their jobs – which projects a poor attitude to the customer every time.

So what is excellent customer service? I like this definition:

The process by which your organization delivers its services or products
in a way that allows the customer to access them in the most efficient, fair, cost-effective,
and humanly satisfying and pleasurable manner possible.

How would you define good customer service? Try it…it’s not as easy as you’d think.

Customer service has often been done poorly because it’s been defined poorly. Businesses need a customer service model upon which you they can build a strategy, so that everyone within the organization has a clear expectation of how they should treat each and every customer. It will look different to every business.

For our organization, our team knows that we have a ‘Whatever it Takes” attitude. Our clients know that we will put their needs first and always strive to exceed their expectations. Some will say that exceeding the customer’s expectations is a good definition of customer service, but unfortunately it doesn’t define it properly. The problem with that definition is simple; it doesn’t say much of anything, and unfortunately it’s what often is evangelized in customer service seminars and in the self-help book of the moment. “Exceeding expectations” won’t guide the blind through heavy traffic. We need something much more eye opening.

Here is a good point to remember: customer service is a process, not a set of actions like greeting the customer, smiling, asking if you can help, etc. Customer service is a sellable commodity, but most companies are not cashing in on it. That’s right; you can sell customer service. But in today’s rollercoaster economy, many companies are so focused on sales and cost-cutting that they don’t see service as a commodity when it’s right in front of them.

When you build and implement a customer service model, you will start to see your sales grow, your employees engaged and your customers very happy.  And happy customers are more profitable, refer more business and are the cornerstone of your company’s future.  Stay tuned for my next blog to see how to build your own customer service model – and start cashing in on customer service!

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