Who is Your Customer?
When we hear the term “customer service,” most of us think of call centers filled with representatives answering complaint calls or perhaps the person standing behind the services desk at a department store. Whether you are in a business-to-business setting or you are selling services, products or partnerships, you still have a customer base and a particular approach to customer service that was either intentionally developed or simply grew over time by default.
Customer service is one of the least-leveraged resources in a service-oriented business. Do you have a clear understanding of how you can calculate the value of your clients or business partners? Consider the total cost of gaining a new client, from the first marketing effort and outreach all the way to the end of the initial billing cycle or product delivery. Keeping and caring for the clients or customers that you already have may be a shortcut to business expansion, for a much smaller investment than you typically make in acquiring a new client.
Steps to customer service excellence:
- Start by creating a profile of individual customer service strengths and weaknesses. What do you or your organization tend to do exceptionally well? Think of follow-up activities, strength and tone of relationships and quality of products or services delivered.
- Now take an honest look at where you or your organization may by missing the mark. Every organization has a unique culture, and yours may have some quirks or gaps that need to be ironed out. Where are the opportunities to improve?
- Create an action plan to enhance attitude, engage customers and clients about their experience with your organization, and improve problem response time. You’ll find that the process itself will help strengthen your current relationships.
- Consider all of the people and companies associated with your business as members of a community, with you or your organization at the center. With a “community-centered” mindset, how would you approach clients, vendors or colleagues differently?
Bruce Matza is an expert in executive leadership, retention, and customer service. He has over 35 years of experience with such prominent brands as Neiman Marcus, where he was a senior executive for 21 years. He also is the author of “Customer Service Star,” and will be giving a webinar to talk about how all of us can become customer service stars. Join us for an engaging hour of learning how you can maximize this often ignored resource!
Members for Life: Innovative Strategies for Better Retention
October 19, 2-3 EDT