We all know “The customer is King”. What are YOU doing to make your customers feel like Kings and Queens, and wanting to come back to you again and again? After all, customers are our businesses’ life-blood.
During a recent workshop by Jayne Huhtanen, of FocalPoint Coaching of Toronto, attendees learned how to propel their customer service to a whole new level. But first things first:
Why is good customer service so important?
An unhappy customer is a company’s worst enemy! They can undermine and damage your reputation, whether justified or not. With today’s Internet based news feeds and social media it doesn’t take much to dish the dirt on any business via Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. We know we can’t please everybody all the time, yet it is important to keep our customers happy (or at least satisfied enough not to campaign against our business).
Jayne sees customer service as four key areas: Service, Satisfaction, Staying, and Success. Firstly, you want to provide not just good but amazing customer service, with which you hope to reach or exceed customer satisfaction. In turn, that will lead to customers staying with you as a repeat client and contributing to your success. For most companies, 80% of business comes from 20% of clientele, so repeat clients are essential.
Providing excellent customer service and satisfaction requires knowing each customer`s wants and needs, and what their expectations are in terms of your product or service. One way to find out is by simply asking directly, getting brief feedback forms, or conducting customer satisfaction surveys.
One such method is the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which uses just one basic question: How likely is it that you [the customer] would recommend this company to a friend or colleague? The resulting scores fall into one of three categories:
- Promoters (rating you 9-10 in customer service, with 10 being exceptional): loyal enthusiasts, who will keep buying, and referring others;
- Passives (rating you 7-8): satisfied but unenthusiastic customers, vulnerable to competitors; and,
- Detractors (rating you 0-6): unhappy customers, who can damage your brand and hinder growth.
To turn your customers into promoters, there are five levels of customer service:
- Meet expectations: The bare minimum of service, not getting major complaints but also no loyalty; failure to meet expectations even once is seen as reason to leave; customers gladly switch to a competitor who wows them with a lower price and/or better service.
- Exceed expectations: Building customer loyalty; may lead to increased profitability; customers willing to pay more for this better service; helps avoid the Law of Diminishing Intentions, i.e. customers going elsewhere.
- Delight customers: Touching customers on an emotional/personal level; this increases client retention; showing them you truly care; makes it hard for competitors to pull them away.
- Amaze customers: Propels your business to a whole new level; you treat your customers better than gold; your amazed customers are keen to actively refer you.
- Not meeting expectations: Not meeting customer expectations unintentionally or maybe intentionally because you’re trying to get rid of a ‘bad customer’ who is never satisfied regardless of the level of service; this customer and you are just not a good fit.
Here are just a few of the things you can do for good to excellent customer service: Always follow-up, offer help and solutions immediately, provide incentives or compensation, have personal interaction (by telephone or in person), be accountable, send hand-written thank you cards to repeat or major clients or small appreciation gift, hold client appreciation event, and offer finder’s fee for referrals.
We each have our own style, of course, and what makes working with us special. Importantly, always be friendly, sincere, and over-deliver, then as long as your product or service is top-notch, you should have no problem delighting and retaining your customers!
- Jayne Huhtanen, FocalPoint Coaching of Toronto, http://jaynehuhtanen.focalpointcoaching.com/
- Attracting Perfect Customers: The Power of Strategic Synchronicity, by Stacey Hall and Jan Brogniez, Barnes & Noble Publishing
- The Power of Strategic Synchronicity explained: https://s3.amazonaws.com/bml/pdf/attractingcustomers.pdf
- Net Promoter Score (NPS), http://www.netpromoter.com/why-net-promoter/know/
Martina Rowley is the founder and operator of Beach Business Hub – THE co-working space east of the Don Valley. She combined her passion and experience in the environmental sector with her community engagement side to create a local work environment where space and resources are shared. She fosters and facilitates collaboration, networking, and learning for and with small business owners and new start-ups. Contact her at:http://www.beachbusinesshub.ca, on Facebook and on Twitter