In my many years as a business owner, I’ve always prioritized customer service! My recent feature in Authority Magazine details this practice and I’m sharing more tidbits from the interview here today. Regardless of the industry, the economy, or how your business is performing…keeping customer service as your guiding light is a great way to ensure the profit will always come back to you.
Great customer service is simply paramount to the success of any business, as an unhappy customer will become a loyal consumer if you fix their complaint quickly. Treat them fairly and 80% of these folks will come back. That percentage rises to the upper 90s if you respond immediately. Every day you have the chance to transform mistakes into returning customers, even raving fans — the kind who will tell other people good things about you.
A favorite quote (that I live by) is from the book Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles. “Your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing better. Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create Raving Fans.”
Good customer service is low hanging fruit for any business, and one that is often missed. I believe the disconnect comes from the top down. If you have a company that is too large or one where the owner is not involved, that feeling trickles down to the employees. If the employees who deal face to face with the customers don’t care, then the customer service aspect will suffer. You will lose great employees who leave without having the full support of the company.
Customer retention and happiness is so important to the bottom line. Company owners can get so caught up in the immediate profits and forget about the long game. If your company has bad customer service, it may not show up immediately, but the referral and repeat segment of your business will wane over time. This is the most profitable and loyal segment of your customers — needed to grow and sustain your business. Competition may help improve customer service in some industries. However, as I stated before, you either have ownership and management that prioritizes customer service, or you don’t. It’s impossible for employees to improve customer experiences if the company doesn’t back them up.
Good customer service has a long term ripple effect that rewards your business tenfold. Repeat and referral business is not only the best business, but it also costs way less in advertising/marketing costs to get this type of business.
Lost in the weeds of all things small business – or maybe you’re in need of some fresh new creative ideas? A fantastic way to keep yourself focused on the most important pieces of business is to call on mentors or fellow business owners in your community. They understand! Mentors and business friends can see your business from a 1,000 foot view. I met my husband, Matt, first as a professional peer. We would often share advice and swap stories… and while you don’t always end up marrying your fellow business mentors (like I did!), they will tell you their honest opinions and they will help your business grow.