Amazing how companies want, even expect customer loyalty. However, the problem is that business often becomes so wrapped up in making money, their idea of the ultimate, that providing extraordinary customer service as almost an after thought. The real reason customer loyal creeps, crawls or crashes away is because companies does treat customer service as a top priority.
What does customer loyalty look like any? Loyal customers become a company’s best ad agency. They refer, they recommend, and they set up introductions. They invite you to important networking functions, seek your advice and proactively share with you recommendations to help to improve your products and services.
Seth Godin makes a fabulous recommendation regarding how to build extraordinary customer service:
“Most of your competition spend their days looking forward to those rare moments when everything goes right. Imagine how much leverage you have if you spend your time maximizing those common moments when it doesn’t.“
Tips for providing extraordinary customer service:
- Be sure that you are offering value. After all you wouldn’t be in business if your customers weren’t helping you pay your bills. In today’s economic environment, everyone is scrutinizing every dollar. The company that offers products or services that their customers believe that they cannot live without is the company that can and will weather any storm. The value has to not be not just in the direct product or service but also in the ongoing support, interest and benefits received.
- Make it right. This should be a standing company policy. When a mistake, misstep, or misunderstanding occurs everyone, and that means everyone, responsible needs to on top of how a customer is treated. How amazing would it be to receive a call, note or email from an supervisor, manager or executive to follow up to ensure that the customer is satisfied with the outcome. Making it right is more than apology, it could be additional service, reduction in a bill or eliminating the bill totally. This always shows the customer that how much service is valued.
- Help employees to “fess up.” The standing company policy needs to include that appreciating employees make a mistake, there will not be blame but action to support to correct the situation . Helping employees to use the problems as learning experiences goes a long way to ensure customer as well as employee loyalty. After all, aren’t employees our best internal customers?
- Meet customers needs. A great movie is Miracle on Thirty Fourth Street. Remember the story, the hero, Santa Clause, works in Coles, a department store. He helps customers find the gifts they are seeking at Christmas by referring them to competitors if the item is not available. At first, management is appalled and almost fire this Santa. But, the customers are so impressed that they tell the store manager that they now are loyal to Coles because Coles cared about them. Honest, creative, concerned service almost always leads to extraordinary loyalty.
- Display concern. The economy has affected everyone. Clients are no exception. Rather than browbeating and threatening for payment, consider working with your customers. When you stay in touch with customers, they will let you know if they are struggling. Rather than lose the business, after all you can’t get blood from a stone, offer ways to help them, even if it means forgiving part of the bill. This has gone a long way for me. And, goes back to tip number one, I’m not saying to just give value, be value. Showing that you want their company to succeed is a valuable service and message to send.
Five simple strategies to provide extraordinary customer service that leads to customer service.
In closing, here are some wise words from Jeffrey Gitomer:
Customer satisfaction is worthless.Customer loyalty is priceless.