Find the Fortune
April 22, 2021
Businesses spend time, energy, and money training employees. They undertake different marketing campaigns testing a variety of components to see what produces the best results. They attempt to provide the best possible products or services they can while promoting their unique value proposition. Businesses will study the competition, try to be price competitive, challenge employees to perform, and work at reducing expenses in an effort to increase the net profit.
While endeavoring to do all of the above, one critical factor is many times forgotten...and that’s where the fortune lies. Fortune is in the follow-up and, especially, when the follow-up concentrates on customer service.
A business can provide the best products or services but still lose customers. Both prospective and existing customers expect a certain level of support for the money spent or to be spent. This might be person-to-person, phone, emails, text messages, online computer chats, or via social media. Customer service creates an experience that a customer has with a business. This experience will be either positive or negative and be a determining factor whether that particular customer repeats the buying experience.
This scenario (customer service) plays out every day in every business regardless of the type of business...business-to-business or business-to-consumer...retail, service, manufacturing, or professional. Purchasers want and expect the same before, during, and after a sale...customer service and support for what was purchased topped off with a show of appreciation.
Opportunity for Growth
Considering that there is a general lack of customer service existing in a multitude of businesses, this creates an opportunity for growth for those businesses that do concentrate on providing a high level of customer service. While it is understood that products and services are revenue generators for a business, customer service is also a revenue generator...an opportunity for business growth.
Customer service, however, does not happen by accident. It must be worked on, concentrated on, and instilled within all company employees. There is one major goal for a business... growth. This growth can be further subdivided into customer retention, customer satisfaction, new customer acquisition, up-selling, and cross-selling.
Interactions with customers can certainly be demanding at times but understanding and concentrating on a few important skills can increase the level of customer service, thus, increasing customer satisfaction, retention, and increased revenue.
- Patience – listen to customers. They like to talk about their needs and issues with the company and its products or services.
- Relate – mentally trade places with your customer. Consider how you would feel if the roles were reversed.
- Communicate – say it in simple terms that the customer understands. This also means that employees must be educated about the products or services the company is selling.
- Problem Solve – employees must be quick to solve a customer’s problem that might include being creative. The longer the solution, the bigger the problem or issue becomes for a customer.
- Right Attitude – customers want to hear a “yes” voice immediately rather than a “no” voice...positive versus negative. The first is definitely better than the latter.
- Appreciate – customers love to be appreciated. Better to remember a customer with a show of appreciation rather than to forget about a customer after a sale.
- Build for the Future – not every customer interaction results in a sale. Building for the future can be just as important as an immediate sale.
Critical Element for Success
So important, so easy, nevertheless so forgotten. Follow-up and customer service go hand-in-hand. In fact, in many situations they are interchangeable. How do you conduct your business? How do your customers perceive your business related to follow-up and customer service? How would you rate your own business? How would you rate your competition in these areas? What frustrations do you personally experience when dealing with other businesses?
Consider what you and your employees can do to create a memorable and satisfying experience for each customer every time they have an interaction with your business. Remember...the fortune is in the follow-up!