Today, we have become so used to receiving poor-to-awful customer service that we expect it. When we actually receive great customer service, we are so surprised and feel like we have gotten a gift. And, when you get an unexpected surprise, what do you do? You tell everyone you know.
Now, isn’t that a great return on investment for that organization that made sure their employees were showing value to their customers by treating them as the important asset they are?
The statistic that has been quoted for years is that one happy customer will tell 2-3 people about the pleasant experience. On the other hand, one unhappy customer will tell 8-10 people about a disappointing experience. Which would you rather have?
Here’s another statistic – 68% of customers defect because of poor customer service. Can you continue to stay in business if you lose 68% of your customers? I know that I can’t. So, statistically, there are many good reasons to ensure that your staff is focused on delighting your customer.
When you decide to go into business, you realize that you need customers if you want to stay in business. You are happy when they call, happy when they stop in and ecstatic when they purchase. You are grateful and want them to return. All of that happiness and gratefulness comes through in your interaction with your customer.
Maybe we just become complacent. After years of having a successful business, maybe we forget why we exist – to serve the customer. We no longer are working the front lines ourselves, but have hired people to serve our customers. Have we trained them appropriately? Have we overseen their performance? Have we coached them for improvement? Have we terminated them when they fail? Some have, some have not.
There are many organizations that just seem to do it right. Chick-fil-A is one that comes to mind. They are happy to see you, happy to serve you and always seem to go above and beyond to make sure your experience is a pleasant one. And, you just have to love those waffle fries and admire their brilliant marketing!
Amazon.com also seems to get it right. They make online shopping easy and I love the suggestions they make, based upon my past purchases.
American Express – I don’t even mind paying an annual fee because I can count on them to back me up when a merchant isn’t standing behind their product.
Now, these organizations are national and international and obviously have the deep pockets to ensure that employees are trained and coached. But, there are other companies with deep pockets that don’t seem to care whether you’re a customer or not. I will not be naming them in this blog, but I won’t be spending my money with them either.
Some of the best customer service I receive are at the small independent shops, restaurants and service providers. I love my dry cleaner, Atlas Dry Cleaning in Newport, Kentucky. Their cleaning might not be better than someone else’s, but their staff is. They remember your name, always have a smile and pay attention to your concerns. Otto’s in Covington, Kentucky is a great little restaurant with great food, but even better customer service.
I know the smaller the business the more likely the owner is actively engaged with the customers and employees. But, I also know that it’s difficult to find good employees. As business owners we need to hire the best people we can, inform them of our dedication to outstanding customer service, observe and coach them. And, if we have an employee who is letting our customers down, we need to terminate them. After all, it’s our reputation and livelihood on the line.
As a small business owner we risk everything we have on the success of our business. None of us can afford to let even one employee cause us to potentially lose 68% of our customers.