Do you know the difference between the world’s most successful companies and everybody else? It’s simple: customer service. What companies like Amazon, Zappos, and Apple have over the competition isn’t rocket science, and it’s not something reserved for the enterprise.
As Warren Buffett once famously said, in so many words: “It might take you 20 years to establish your reputation, but it only takes five minutes to destroy it.” That is the power of customer service in the modern age of business: it’s make or break. You can either sink or swim and you control the end result.
So, here are some tips to help get you started on your new customer service agenda:
1. Make sure your existing customers are well cared-for
This is a trap that many businesses fall into: as soon as they land a customer they cease to see them as important. The reality is that repeat customers simply cost less to maintain than new customers. If the probability of selling to new customers might be in the range of 5 percent to 10 percent, the probability for making a sale to an existing customer is about 70 percent. The cost of sale is much less as well, with acquisition costing about five times more than retention.
2. Be willing to listen and solve problems
Even if something is beyond your control, such as a late delivery due to weather conditions or a customer in receipt of a broken item, you always have the power to make it better. Always listen first before responding – even if the customer is irate or unreasonable. It’s not impossible to turn a bad attitude around with kindness and understanding. The old adage “the customer is always right” may be metaphoric, but it’s a good fallback, especially if things seem unsalvageable. Let them have their say and then find out what you can do to remedy the situation. It might be easier than you think and your compassion will go a long way towards keeping them in your corner.
3. Make sure help is available on their schedule
This is another problem many small businesses run into when just starting out. If you are the one and only person manning your shop, you should think about outsourcing your customer support. Companies like ZenDesk, LiveAgent, and Groove will help you satisfy support requests while you are busy building your empire. If you still think you’re too small for such a solution, at the very least you should hire a professional answering service to ensure your business calls are answered by a real person.
While these are just a few of the ways you can ensure your customer service is supporting your business needs, these tips can give you solid ground to stand on as you establish your business presence.
How do you do customer service? We’d love to hear what has worked for you. Green Hills Office Suites is Nashville’s premier executive office solution. Drop by today for a tour and find out what fuels our client’s success.