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It's Only Common Sense
By Dan Beaulieu
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It’s Only Common Sense: The Face of Your Company—Customer Service
No matter how you look at it, everything is about customer service—great customer service. If you think about your own experiences, you’ll realize it’s about how those you are dealing with or buying from— whether it’s a car, your internet service provider, or your landscaper—it’s all about how they make you feel. You can have the greatest product in the world, but if you don’t deliver a great customer experience, it won’t matter.
When you buy a luxury car you want to have luxurious customer service. My friend had a Lexus for many years and raved about the stellar customer experience when he had his car serviced. It was all the little things, from the coffee and pastries in the waiting room, to the brand-new Lexus loaner, or the fact that they washed his car before it was returned to him. These were all relatively small things that mattered a great deal.
At one point, he traded in his Lexus for a Cadillac and was shocked at the deterioration in the customer care he received. Of course, they took care of the car and serviced it well, but that was the end of it. He had to ask for a loaner, they grudgingly gave him one, and it wasn’t even clean. In the end, he did not feel special, that the service was luxurious, or that the company really cared about him. Caring about how the customer feels is what it’s all about, right?
The interesting thing about this is that both companies were equal in the hardware—the technology of fixing the car. But the whole customer experience, the easy stuff, was not the same at all. This is so often the way it is. We can handle the hard stuff as well as the other guy, often even better. But handle the “easy stuff” with care and you win in the end.
How much does it really cost you to have coffee and pastry cost and a comfortable waiting roomt? What about the brand-new loaner, which is actually a demo for the customer’s next car? Think about the cost in marketing dollars to get a potential customer to come in and test drive a car? The loaner is a perfect marketing strategy. How much does washing the customer’s car cost? Finally, how much does that service with a smile cost? Priceless.
The Significance of Customer Service
- First impressions matter: Customer service is often the first point of contact with a company. A friendly, helpful, and efficient interaction can leave a lasting positive impression. Make sure this is great from the very beginning. Answer the phone when a customer calls in a helpful and friendly manner. Talk about a first impression. Get rid of that@$##^$# automated phone system now. Sorry, but I am a crusading fanatic about this.
- Customer retention: Exceptional customer service fosters customer loyalty. Companies that prioritize customer satisfaction are more likely to retain their existing customers. If you make your customers happy, they will keep coming back again and again. How much is that worth to you?
- Brand image: The way a company treats its customers directly impacts its brand image. Excellent service creates a favorable perception in the minds of consumers. We are all spending a lot of money on brand imaging and none of that marketing is as effective as the real experience.
- Word of mouth: Satisfied customers become brand ambassadors, spreading positive word-of-mouth, and driving new business. Nothing is more valuable than happy customers bragging about how great it is working with your company and products and services.
- Market differentiation: In saturated markets, exceptional customer service can set a company apart from its competitors. It becomes a unique selling proposition. If customer service is so bad and the bar is so low, that if you put some effort in your customer, you will stand out immediately.
- Feedback: Customer service serves as a valuable source of feedback, helping companies identify areas for improvement and innovation.
- Customer service is the face of a company, and its significance cannot be overstated. It is the primary driver of customer satisfaction, brand reputation, and long-term success. By embracing innovative and unique customer service ideas, businesses can create memorable experiences, foster customer loyalty, and stand out in a competitive marketplace. In doing so, they not only run their companies but shape their identities in the eyes of their customers, becoming beacons of excellence in the business world.
It’s only common sense.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.
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