Customer Service – How may I help you?


 

By: Dale Mask

How may I help you?” Considering the cost of recruiting new customers, that is the most important question in today’s economy.

The question is the beginning of the Customer Service Effort. And, while easily stated, too often the question is not backed up with effective action. At least in the customer’s mind. In fact, I recently did a Google search for “bad customer service stories” and got 38,700,000 results (0.21 seconds). I followed with Google search for “good customer service stories” and got 7,960,000 results (0.09 seconds). That is almost five poor customer service examples for every one good customer service example. Does this mean customers are more likely to complain than to give praise? Or, does it mean customers are five times more likely to get bad customer service than good customer service? No matter how you answer, the real question is this. How often do you get service so great you are compelled to return to that establishment just because of the service? Not often. But when great customer service is provided, it is memorable! And, when service is awesome, you will most likely continue to do business with the company without hesitation. You will even go out of your way – drive the extra mile – to do business with them. The business has developed you as a loyal customer. So what am I saying? Consider the cost of acquiring new customers—and the opportunity cost of losing customers. Studies indicate it costs seven to nine times more to recruit new customers than it does to keep current customers.

Plus, in this economy it is more difficult than ever to predict how much it will cost to attract a new customer. Typically, you can satisfy an unsatisfied customer at a relatively low cost. Going over and above what is expected from a service perspective is the best way to gain customer loyalty. The minimal revenue lost in providing the extra service in time and materials, or products is minimal to the revenue lost in losing a customer. While that well satisfied customer may not write a good customer service story the Google search will find, for certain they will not write the poor customer service story the Google search will find. Customers may not always be vocal about good service. But it is amazing how they tell stories about poor service. What reputation are customers building for you?  How can your company develop a reputation for World Class Customer Service?

  • Get everyone involved. Make quality customer service a number one priority organization wide. The simple fact is that everyone is a customer service representative for both your internal and external customers. Everyone represents the company. Everyone has a role to play in developing a service centered culture. Train everyone on customer service and the Communication Skills that relate to customer service.

  • Take customer feedback seriously. Respond, respond, respond. Accept customer praise with grace and be thankful when the customer complains. At least they let you know they have a complaint. The dissatisfied customer may tell others. But when you fix their problem, there is a really good chance they will tell others about how you went out of your way to provide the quality service they needed.  Remember every “little” complaint about the product and service is related to something that needs to be addressed. Not dealt with, these “little” complaint issues are likely to reduce customer loyalty and open the door to your competition.

  • View difficult customers as an opportunity. The most vocal customer can create the most positive – or the most negative stories about your organization. The difficult customer is an opportunity to gain a new champion for your business. Instead of doing the minimum to just get rid of the difficult customer go out of your way to convert them to a well-satisfied customer. When faced with the difficult customer, remember: first defuse – then resolve the issue. It’s amazing how quickly a frown can turn into a smile. And, it’s just as amazing to see how smiles often lead to more business.

To learn more, check out our online customer service training courses.

By: Dale Mask                                          

© 2015 Alliance Training and Consulting, Inc.

 


 

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