I’d like you to take a moment to imagine something with me. You spend loads of time and money finding leads, nurturing them, pitching them, and finally landing them…only to immediately turn around and throw them in the bin.
Sound strange? It’s actually pretty common. Many businesses that are really successful at finding and selling to potential customers just end up hemorrhaging them from the other end by neglecting their customer service. The thing is, customer service is notoriously difficult to get right.
So why bother?
If it’s so difficult, why bother making it such a priority? Ultimately, isn’t it a nice to have? Not at all! Great customer service actually saves you loads of money in the long run through referrals, testimonials, and repeat business. It also builds up one of your most valuable business assets: your reputation.
And on the flip side, when you get it wrong, there’s the potential for the whole world to know it. Businesses get absolutely slaughtered on social media for failing at customer service (and not just the big brands!) What’s more, you can kiss any word of mouth business goodbye if you’ve got a reputation for not caring about your customers.
The two critical elements:
I’m sure this isn’t news to you, or to any of the other business owners, even those that have terrible customer service. So why is great customer service so very difficult to pull off? It’s because there are two critical elements that must be in place for it to work — and most companies tend to focus on one or the other.
The first is the technical side of things
You need a system for handling issues and complaints, and it needs to allow for very fast response times. It’s important to decide ahead of time who in your business will take responsibility for customer service, and how people can get in touch with you, whether that’s by email, phones, live chat, letters, or even personal meetings!
There also needs to be system for keeping track of what’s happening with your customer service, and it needs to be continually updated. Check over it regularly so you can identify trends, see where things are falling down, and fix them.
The second element is the personal element
How awful is it to be frustrated and call up a customer service representative who is clearly even more frustrated than you are? That’s why it’s really important that you think carefully about who is going to respond to your customers, and vet them to ensure they have the right temperament for it. They need to really have the customer service ethos — meaning they need to be “extra mile” people who can truly empathise with your customers.
Is it a lot to set up and maintain? Maybe. But the truth is, you can’t run a sustainable business without it.
Until next time,