In the face of growing competition, scarce resources, and more demanding customers, smart business leaders are striving to increase profitability by becoming more customer service oriented. But few companies—even those with a deep understanding of their customers—really know how to achieve this.
Attaining true customer service excellence requires a fundamental, company-wide shift in thinking and re-training of your internal team. At the same time, your company must realign itself around the customer—moving away from a business organized around functions or products.
Building a customer service model can offer a proven path to growth and profitability. By examining the strategies and resources needed to create a customer-driven organization, you will give your company a blueprint for building capacity and capabilities to drive innovation, profit, and growth in any environment. Let’s explore what changes your organization needs to incorporate to follow a good customer service model.
The process must be efficient. For a customer to feel satisfied, you must have information immediately available that is complete and correct. The person within your organization that is working directly with the customer can easily refer them to the website, spec sheets, literature, ingredients—or whatever other information is relevant.
The features and benefits of your product or service must be presented convincingly, but honestly. The terms of the purchase are clear and defined and the payment process takes place in the least amount of time possible. If the product or service requires manufacturing or modification, provide accurate estimates about the time required.
The process is fair. The customer service process must be transparent. If an organization can practice full disclosure in an obvious way in their product information or their contracts, they are on the way to creating customer loyalty. If the customer experiences your organization as one where they were never surprised and never felt deceived, the organization will create a competitive edge in a world where many consumers have lost confidence in the customer service process.
The product or service is cost-efficient. The product or service is competitively priced for the value it brings. People want to know what they are getting and how much they are getting it for. The worst mistake a company can make is surprising customers with hidden charges or discrepancies at the time of billing.
Products shouldn’t seem to look like they are of better quality than they really are. Say you take home a CD player for a present to one of your children that looks chrome-plated and is really cool. In a couple of weeks you discover the “chrome” is really cheap plastic and it has peeled away. If they manufacturer had just used sturdy gray plastic that stayed intact you wouldn’t feel ripped off by having a new CD player that looks used and worn out. Don’t create expectations that will be a disappointment.
Make buying an enjoyable experience. I buy Starbucks coffee even when I don’t want coffee. Why? Because visiting the store is always an enjoyable experience. The drink I get is always consistent in taste and I feel it’s a great value based on how much I enjoy it. I guess I could say that Starbucks appeals to my emotions. Romancing the customer is important in order to make the act of buying pleasurable at every level. The pleasure of the buying experience is as important as the product itself. Innovation in creating an amazing buying experience is a key component of successful organizations today.
Simply put, deliver your product or services in the most humanly satisfying manner as possible and your customers will view your business as a place they want to do business for the long haul. And happy, satisfied customers are more profitable, refer more business and are the cornerstone of your company’s future.