With over 750 million people on Facebook and another 135 million people on linkedin it is always surprising to see how easy it is to talk about bad customer service. What's unfortunate is that United States business today is made up of mostly service-oriented business. With so many customers having the ability to tell others instantly about the good and cruddy service they receive one would think that most businesses would be more keen to service orientation.
I recently took my daughter to a fast food sandwich outfit. We were on an endless line with unsmiling personnel and in the midst of the lunchtime rush one of the counter people seeing the numerous people decided that it was appropriate to take a break at that moment! My daughter and I had already been waiting 20 min. to be served decided to leave. Not only was this crap customer service but also she went immediately went onto her social media circles and within moments people stop soliciting the business.
What entrepreneurs and many small businesses don't understand is that customer service is the key differentiator in a service-based society. All it takes is one bad client and they will instantly chat about that service leaving up for millions to decide whether or not they will solicit your business. If you don't believe me a perfect example occurred just a few short months ago when the retail chain "The Gap" decided to change its logo and asked for customer input. Within a 24 hour period over 1 million people voiced their opinion and made certain that the retail chain did not change to the new logo.
So with the marketing prowess of social media what are some things that organizations need to do to become more service oriented?
- Hire the right people. Even though there are some organization that work in industries that have high attrition rates there is no reason why you cannot focus on hiring the right people. Good people help to create a better organizational culture and when people are happy they make their customers happy. And when customers talk about you it lowers your marketing cost.
- Set up a culture of service. This means that telephones are answered within three rings. Or that you ensure that people do not wait too long to get a seat or are serviced. For example just say to yourself that I will be with you in one moment. Then pause and look at the second hand of your watch for the next 20 seconds. I'll bet that seems like eternity. What do you think your customers have to say?
- Be truthful. If you cannot service a customer or if there will be a long wait then let them know. Customer service is about creating candid communication that builds good relationships.
- Stop the robotics. The most frustrating thing in the world for any consumer is to listen to long drawn-out voice messages or ridiculous scripts read by personnel. Social media today is all about the human touch so why can't your business?
- End the narcissism. One of the most incredible things to observe when I mystery shop is the business owner that sits on their rump and does not engage with customers. I'm not sure if you ever heard this quote but there is only one purpose of being in business - the customer! If you're in it for the money you're in the wrong business.
- Grab testimonials. If you are doing right your current customer base then new prospective customers will want to know. Solicit your customers for good stories so that they can tell others. These are the type of things that morph on social media networks.
- Consistency. If there's one thing about customer service it is consistency. For you to remain loyal to your customers you must be relentless with consistency so that all clients are treated equally.
What many fail to understand is the amount of competition in today's market. In addition to the numerous uncontrollable environmental factors; customer service is the key link to ensure your businesses success. When you focus on customer service it allows others to become more aware of the brand. Due to social media customers own your brand.
So as you move forward in this competitive market make certain that you treat your customers right because when you do others will know. And, it won't cost you a dime, just merely a smile and a good experience!
© 2011. Drew Stevens PhD. All rights reserved.