In some industries, service has become a quaint memory. Customers are often reduced to selecting the provider that costs or annoys them the least. But the golden rule has not been repealed. Pleasing your customers can create a powerful competitive advantage – and a few simple changes may increase your bottom line.
For example, businesses are among the worst offenders of time-wasting annoyances such as long waits on hold. To distinguish your firm from the rest, establish the following customer service policies and procedures.
- Communicate with your customers. Return calls, emails, and social media contacts promptly, send updates about matters in progress, and explain delays as soon as you can.
- Make life easy. Offer discounts at the point of sale rather than giving out coupons or making buyers apply for mail-in rebates. If you use an automated phone system, provide a simple method for reaching a live person.
- Apologize early and whenever necessary. If you’re even partly wrong, apologize and proceed to a resolution. Train your employees to do the same and reward them for positive outcomes.
- Put customers first. Let your customers know you’re there for them and that you regard them as more than “cash cows.” Listen to concerns and address them promptly. If a customer is unhappy with a purchase (whether product or service), fix it, replace it, or refund the payment in full. At worst, the loss won’t be compounded by damage to your reputation. At best, the money will come back multiplied by repeat business and referrals.
Quality service is a powerful marketing tool that’s surprisingly easy to implement. Simply imagine how you would want to be treated and provide that treatment to your customers. As customer satisfaction increases, your profits will follow.