No matter what business you're in, customer service is critical to your survival.
Years ago, you could get by with marginal customer service. There was much less competition. Today, things are different. If you don't take care of your customers, somebody is waiting, ready, and willing to do it. Today your competitive advantage is not the quality of your product or service. If you don't have a high quality product or service, you're not even in the game. Your competitive edge today cannot be your price, because someone can always undercut your price. What you need is a fair/competitive price. The real competitive edge you have today is how you treat your customers. The one thing your competition cannot take away from you is the relationship your people have with your customers.
Everyone in an organization has contact in some way with its customers. And everyone can make a difference and create meaningful memories for the organization's customers that will motivate them to come back. How? Each person can put his/her personal signature on the job. How? By thinking about something they can do for their customers to make them feel special. Such as, a memory that will make them want to come back or be loyal to your organizations. "We do not remember days. We remember moments in our lives".
"To keep your customers today, you cannot be content to just satisfy them; that's what they expect. Instead, you have to create 'Raving Fans'". These are customers who are so excited about the way you treat them that they want to tell stories about you. They become part of your sales force.
Finally, great customer service has to come from the inside out. You cannot mandate it. You cannot threaten, reward, or coerce people to care. You can only awaken the desire to give it and then give them the permission and encouragement to make it come alive in their work. Simply put, if people don't have in their hearts the desire to serve and make a difference for others, they will not give great customer service. Mary Kay, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, said the secret of her success was hiring nice people and then allowing them to be as nice as they could be.
Please stay tuned! In the next blog, we will begin sharing stories that illustrate what we are talking about. Feel free to comment if you have a story about good customer service.