Make Smashing Customer Service the Centerpiece of your Business Success Story
The secret of success is to do the common thing uncommonly well.
- J. D. Rockefeller
What is the secret to your business success story? Best products? Best unique selling position? Or perhaps it is providing smashing customer service?
We have said it many times in our blogs … word of mouth marketing is the best way to market your business. Hands down. No question.
We have found that the majority of successful businesses have great thinking on word of mouth marketing. Most of them conclude that providing the best customer service is the best way to have customers talk to their friends about their business. And that is the fastest and most complete way to a business success story.
Some are saying that all customers are concerned about right now is the price. I challenge that. It takes no special skill to follow the leader or be the (momentary) leader with the lowest price. Companies that are thriving (yes, thriving) in this sluggish economy do more. They have made deliberate decisions about how they would run their business, and they live out those decisions every day. The most important of those decisions is the one that determines that taking great care of their customers is the highest priority.
How do you do that? Here are some actions and examples that do not cost a thing — except passion and commitment.
Hire nurturers to take care of customers is the best place to start the process. You can identify this natural ability in employees during the interview process.
As much as there is a tendency to move customers quickly in and out your doors in the name of efficiency, resist this approach. Today’s customer wants and expects to be cared for as an individual. For example; on “Black Friday,” as customers were standing in cold lines to get into stores in the middle of the night, one intern at a Best Buy store decided to pass out coffee, hot chocolate, and doughnuts to keep the crowds calm. A great small touch that had remarkable long term results via word of mouth marketing because of that “nurturing” gesture.
You work hard to earn your customers' trust. Why expect your trust shouldn’t be provided to customers. Many customers use their trust to add credibility. For example, Zane’s Cycles in Connecticut lets prospective customers take a $6,000 bike for a test ride with no identification or collateral. They lose two bikes a year to thieves but demonstrate their faith in their customers rather than beginning the relationship questioning a prospect’s integrity.
Be relentless about cutting out those rules that make your frontline folks have to bounce back and forth between themselves and a manager to take care of a customer or extend a special gesture they feel is warranted.
Take a page from Zane’s Cycles that get rid of the rule book for customers, or from Wegman’s that gets rid of the rule book for employees, telling employees that the major rule they all live by is “No Customer Can Leave Unhappy.”
Get away from the desk
Be where your customers and the folks who serve your customers are.
Be agile, be on the lookout for what people are asking for, and then be responsive. If you do something for one customer in need, spread the idea through your employees to extend the gesture, too. Being responsive and empathetic and adjusting how you do business for your customers now will pay off as the memory of your kindness stays with them.
Be part of the community
Be part of the community, where your customers live and shop and know what is going on at a personal level.
Care enough to find out what will make a difference in their lives. Be creative and deliberate in figuring out a way to respond. Remember customers do most business with people they have relationships with.