Why is it so rare? How can we make it the norm?
Provided by Tiffany Valentine, CFP®
Vice President and Director of Financial Planning
The customer experience is one of the keys to business success. In some industries, it can mean the difference between success and failure.
According to recent research by a major credit card issuer, 90% of Americans consider quality of customer service as they decide whether they want to do business with a company. Another study, conducted by a major business software manufacturer, notes that 93% of customers who get great service from a business are likely to come back and buy again.1
Still, great service remains rare. Customers who want help are often made to feel like they are inconveniencing a business. Some businesses disregard the customer experience, believing that consumers will buy largely on price or a trusted name, as if we were still in the era of dry goods stores and green stamp booklets.
Great customer service is about solving problems and meeting needs. The essentials are simply stated: a quick response, superior communication, putting the customer first. And yet, all this is often absent. As a first step to making these essentials the norm at your company, consider the following questions.
Is your business truly customer focused? Is it evolving in response to customer needs? Are you thinking of your customers and the employees in close contact with them when you think about your brand?
Paradoxically, being a customer-focused business means focusing on the experiences of your employees as well as the people who purchase your products or services. Your employees have to adopt the mindset that they are helpers, problem-solvers for a community of people. They come to work each day to “do good,” and they are the “experts” when it comes to this kind of help; they excel at responding to a specific need.
One of the keys to instilling this mindset is to communicate the values, purpose, and mission of your business. What role does your company play in people’s lives, in the community it serves? What kind of experience should your customers have? Your employees need to hear these things from you.
What kind of community are you creating? Think of your customers and workers as members of the community created around your business. Ask your customers for their opinions of your products or services; involve them strongly in your brand’s evolution and direction. Doing the same with your workers not only gives them a say, but it is also a step toward becoming leaders themselves.
What degree of customer service can your employees deliver? Do they have the authority to give a dissatisfied customer a free product, a full refund, or a unique accommodation? If not, maybe they should be empowered with some of these options. They might just change that unhappy customer into a raving fan.
Are you constantly listening to your clients or customers? If you wonder how things might change in your industry, start by talking to the people who might want to see some change: the consumers. Gather steady feedback from your clients or customers to learn what they want and need now, as opposed to what they wanted and needed years ago when you opened your doors. What you learn may lead you to revise your business plan or direction, and the input will definitely refine the way that your company responds to your customers.
Tiffany Valentine is a Registered Representative with securities and financial planning services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC.CA Insurance License 0D73175.
This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.
1. HubSpot, July 20, 2020