Customer Service and Your Business
I went to a restaurant with a client recently for a spot of lunch. When asked for my drinks order, I requested a Bundaberg Ginger Beer – to support a local icon, and it tastes so good, particularly on a hot day. To my surprise, the response was – “we haven’t any left, sorry” and then there was this lengthy pause. … the waitress was waiting for me to make another selection. On this occasion, I did – and got my drink. Now the point of this – part of excellence in customer service is to ensure that the client or patron or customer is actually satisfied. I felt dis-satisfied because the waitress did not make the effort to meet my needs, and almost missed a sale opportunity or an opportunity to up-sell.
Let me share some statistics:
Reasons why customers leave a business
5% develop other friendships
9% go to a competitor and don’t return
14% are dissatisfied with the product or price
68% changed companies because of poor service and the perceived indifference of staff and management
Here is something to think about – only 4% of dis-satisfied customers complain – 96% just go away quietly, and 91% never return. It is said that a dis-satisfied customer tells 8 to 10 people – and 1 in 5 tell more than 20 people. I wonder if that figure is now much larger with the recent advent of Facebook, Twitter and emails?
It takes up to 12 positive service incidents to make up for 1 negative incident, however 7 out of 10 complaining customers will do business again if the problem is solved in their favour. If resolved immediately, 95% will do business with you again.
We seem to spend a lot of money trying to attract new customers and sometimes neglect our existing customer base. The facts are quite simple, it costs us 10 times as much to attract new clients compared to maintaining a relationship with our existing clients, and customer loyalty is worth 10 times the value of a single purchase.
What do customers need?
- To feel welcome
- To feel comfortable
- To feel important; and
- To be understood
Winning and keeping customers depends on rewarding people for being customers. The rewarded customer buys, multiplies and comes back. The more customer feel rewarded, the greater the odds that they will continue to be your customer.
In today’s service oriented economy, excellent customer service is more than a competitive weapon – it’s a survival skill.
So, how can we define Customer Service? There are probably hundreds of definitions, but the one I like the most is:
“Those things we do and say that make a customer feel welcome and valued”
What can we do to improve the customer service that we provide for our customers?
I believe that the first step, is to think like a customer – there is an old Navajo Indian saying -“walk a mile in my moccasins”; the second step is to show a positive attitude; the third step is to take the phrase – “”Are you right?”out of the sales conversation , and the fourth and fifth steps – IDENTIFY CUSTOMER NEEDS, and MEET THEIR NEEDS
As a business consultant, I worked with a company to help them improve the customer service culture for the business. On day one, I came across one of the staff who informed me – “don’t think I am a servant to anyone”… what a light bulb moment – there is a mile between the two words “servant” and “service” and the distance can be measured in attitude” It’s all about providing service to a client at a high level, not the perceived low level of a servant.
Some of the guiding principles that help grow and improve our customer service are:
- We exist for the customer
- The customer is number one
- When we are not personally looking after a customer, we will look after those who are – valuing our team
- Our goal is to create and keep customers
- We don’t sell – we help people to buy
- Helping customers is my top priority
Lester Lewis, Business Consultant