Service (Lesson 7)
It doesn’t matter how outstanding you are at everything else; if your customer service isn’t up to speed it will be a real struggle to grow your business to the level you really want.
Customer service isn’t a difficult idea, but a lot of businesses don’t do the best job they could. I’m not sure why – maybe it’s seen as an afterthought, something that distracts from the important work of actually running the business. I get the feeling, talking to some people, that they see customer service as taking up time, resources and money that could be used for something more important.
It goes without saying that I completely disagree with this. Good customer service is one of the most cost-effective investments you can make, and it’s also one of the most powerful marketing tools you have available.
Remember that your aim as a business owner is to buy profitable customers – and the most profitable customers are the ones who do business with you, are happy with the experience and keep coming back again and again. Your aim should be to turn as many people as possible into Raving Fans, and great customer service is always a reliable way to do that.
Often, great customer service is the only way to do it. Not many businesses have the luxury of operating without competition, and often that means your customers can get exactly the same product or service from a lot of other people. You need to give them a compelling reason to get them from you, and your options can be limited. There are limits to how much you can cut prices and still make a profit. But service is one way you can set yourself above your competitors, so make the most of it.
There are many small things that can make a big difference, but here’s a biggie:
If you make a mistake, admit it.
We don’t always get things right, and most people accept that. If your business gets it wrong, don’t try to hide it. Yes, you can probably beat a customer who’s not happy with something. Is that a victory you really want, though? You might have saved the cost of a replacement item, but you’ve probably lost a customer. Nine times out of ten that’s not a win for your future growth.
Instead, just take the hit and do what you can to wow the customer with how you resolved it.
At the end of the day, your business relies on customers. It doesn’t matter how awesome your operation is – if nobody’s buying your products and services you won’t even survive, let alone grow. Don’t let your customers think you don’t care about them. After all, they provide the profits that you, your family, your team and your business itself depend on. Excellent service will make them feel valued, and keep them coming back.
To your success,