Sure, every business has what they call “customer service.” For the sake of discussion, let’s say that customer service has a flavor.
For some customers, that flavor is very appealing. What you provide tastes so good that they keep coming back. For more. And more. Crazy…they still want more. That is the taste that gets them addicted to what you provide.
But for some customers, that taste swishes around in their mouth and feels like tepid week-old dishwater. It’s got a little funk in it. “Hey, you want some more?”, you keep asking. They keep saying “No.”
Here’s the kicker. It’s the same customer service.
Some Customer Service Truths
Any customer that you are actually talking to is engaged with your business. It doesn’t matter what part of the sales journey they happened to be standing in. It could be pre-sale, during the sale, or post-sale.
They are actively paying attention to everything you do. Their radar is up and actively pinging. The positive things you do show up on their radar and get noted.
“Hmmm. I like that. Gimme more.”
However, so do the negative things.
“What the… I can’t believe that just happened.”
Hopefully, the experience that you provide in your business produces more positive pings on their radar than negative. Everything you do gets locked in their brain and forms their opinion of your company.
At a certain point if there is enough positive juice in the relationship, sometimes the magic referral fairy will pop up and have them refer your business to someone else. But for that to happen the experience has to be consistently incredible and they need to be overwhelmingly happy with you.
Nobody recommends companies that suck. Or those that are mediocre. Your customers have to be happy to the point that they know deep down in their soul that you will come through for whoever they are recommending you to. Their happiness has to tamp down the fear that you will embarrass them. That’s how referrals happen.
When Customer Service Is Treated Like a Cost
In some businesses, the accountants rule the roost. I’m sure they are great people, but they have a hard time dealing with abstract ideas.
Like customer opinions.
Remember that customer that is just over there? They are paying attention to how you treat them. What happens in each moment, and in every interaction, is being recorded in their brain. Unlike what you spend on marketing, the money that you pour into your customer service actually is tasted by the people that spend money with you.
And is that taste scrumptiously delicious or rancid dishwater?
That all depends on whether you are serving the right customer. From an accountant’s point of view, if too many customers taste dishwater the money spent on customer service just isn’t worth it.
“Let’s cut back”, they say.
But if you have honed in on qualifying better customers that are in alignment with your business and are a good fit, that same customer service experience is a gourmet delight. They gobble it up because it is right and true for them.
Serving Your Current Customers
While many companies focus on finding and bringing in new customers, I think that sometimes there is a lack of focus on the existing ones.
How can you make their lives better? What can you do to surprise and delight them today?
I’ll bet that right now, you have a list of customers who at one time spent a lot of money with you. But now they don’t.
The most valuable customers are the loyal ones. What are you doing to drive that loyalty? Everything you do should be 100% about your customer.
These days, competition is fierce. You know this as you experience it every day.
What you need more than anything is to get clarity on exactly who your customer is, what problems they have, and how you are uniquely qualified to help them.
Your customers are not everyone, anyone, or someone. Those are dishwater tasting clients. They don’t value you and will drop you like a hot potato for anyone that is nickel cheaper.
Spend the time and dial in your customer focus on the folks that really appreciate what you do best. That value your service. Where fit and alignment magically happen.
That’s when you dramatically over-deliver on your customer service promise. This is how word spreads about what you do and you create brand ambassadors out of your customer base. They do the selling for you.
The day that customers are telling stories about how awesome your business is, is the day that every dollar you spend on customer service comes back to you one hundred times over.
That’s the delicious dish that you serve.
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everyone from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton
“The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.” – Roy H. Williams
“We will hire someone with less experience, less education, and less expertise than someone who has more of those things and has a rotten attitude. Because we can train people. We can teach people how to lead. We can teach people how to provide customer service. But we can’t change their DNA.” – Herb Kelleher
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