When it comes to looking after my clients, I have one rule:
“Always deliver what you promise, and then a little bit extra”.
This is something that one of my clients had said most impressed him about me when I first set up my own business. It meant so much to me that it’s something that I continue to strive for with every one of my clients.
Of course, we’ve all encountered the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to customer service and I’m sure that you can recount multiple instances of each. From the shop assistant who always goes the extra mile to making your shopping experience a real pleasure, to the call centre agent who is clearly more interested in their forthcoming night out than whether you have been charged twice as much as usual for your utility supply that month.
Whether you love or hate keeping your standards at the highest level, there is no doubt that customer service can make or break your business. Here are some interesting facts and figures relating to poor service which will definitely demonstrate how the level of service you provide, will make a difference to your bottom line:
· 91% of unhappy customers would not willingly do business with the company again
· Customers talk about negative service experiences twice as much as positive ones
· 78% of customers have cancelled or decided against a purchase based on poor service alone
· 59% of customers would switch brand/company for better service
· The average loyal customer is worth 10x their first transaction
· 90% of customers said that they would happily spend more with companies who offered good service
So, what can you do to ensure that you always provide the best customer experience? Here are some simple ideas:
Start as you mean to go on
Aim high, keep aiming high and offer the same level of service for every one of your customers. Someone who starts off as one of your ‘lower value’ customers may end up as a loyal follower if they are impressed with your service. What starts off with purchasing one sandwich for their lunch, may turn into your business providing a lunch delivery service for a 500-employee office block, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year.
I still remember an old saying from way back when: “Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and they won’t step on your toes”. If you keep that saying in mind with any interaction you may have with your customers, you won’t go far wrong. We all know the level of service that we would want to receive ourselves so provide nothing less for your customers.
Keep it up!
Sometimes it might be easier said than done (we all have bad days!) but all you have to do now, is keep offering that high level of service with every customer and every interaction. If I’m completely honest, I find it much easier to naturally give top level service to some clients than others and that’s purely down to the differing relationships that I have with them.
I do not sell products, I am a service provider, so top level service is a must-have for my business. Without it, my business would no longer exist. My clients would not continue to be clients if they weren’t happy with the service that I provide for them.
Know how to fix it
There will be times when something happens outside of your control that means that a customer won’t receive the service they deserve (and expect). This does not have to be a complete disaster. If you deal with the issue quickly and efficiently, apologise to the customer and offer a suitable solution, you may well end up with a very positive situation.
Customers have so many other channels now in which to vent their frustration with poor service, so if you can move swiftly to fix the problem before it turns into a PR nightmare, you can prevent the loss of future customers as well as current ones.
Research shows that it costs six times as much to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one, so doing all that you can to keep hold of your current customers is definitely the way to go.