’If you will just be real, be friendly and be WOW, you are halfway up the ladder to customer loyalty and personal success beyond your wildest dreams,’’ Jeffrey Gitomer
- Customers are the source of your paycheck.
- Your friendliness and willingness to help is in direct proportion to your success.
- One of the most powerful aspects of service: being different – it’s all in the first few words.
- Word-of-mouth advertising is the most powerful form of advertising in the world.
- ‘’Loyal’’ is the most difficult of customer service goals to achieve.
These days, customers are smarter, leaner, price-conscious and hit on more by competitors. And because of poor service expectations, these customers are also: more demanding, less forgiving, harder to satisfy, less loyal. And so the challenge for the 21st century is not just serving customers – it is:
- Understanding customers and putting yourself in the customer’s shoes
- Helping an angry customer immediately
- Being responsible for your actions when a customer calls
- Being memorable
- Striving to keep customers for life
- Getting unsolicited referrals from customers regularly.
Just because they are satisfied does not mean they are loyal. Satisfied customers will buy from anyone. Satisfaction is no longer the acceptable standard of customer service. The standard and measure of success for the next millennium is loyal customers. Are you measuring up? Would you rate your customer service as something worth talking about? If not, your competition is breathing a sigh of relief.
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Customers don’t make up stories about you or your actions – you create them. What stories have you created? How do you think of your customers? Do you realize that they feed you? Do you understand that your degree of service helps determine your wage and your success? How willing are you to help? When a customer calls with a problem, do you try to get rid of it, or are you the person who solves it?
Do you call customers back after the problem to ask if they were served okay and that all is well? How friendly are your company’s first words? How is your company being represented? How well are your staff trained to respond to the need, and ask for the sale? Do you know how much one customer means to your company? Have you ever lost a customer? Did you calculate the cost of the loss?
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What are you doing to ensure the competitive advantage of repeat business?
What are you doing to build quality relationships with every customer? Quality relationships are where re-orders come from. If the customer is mistreated or decides to test the competition, that advantage may be permanently lost. These are common-knowledge statistics quoted about dissatisfied customers:
- 91% will never return
- 96% won’t tell you the real reason they left
- It costs 10 times more to replace a customer than it does to keep them.
A customer ready to repeat his purchase is a powerful business advantage
A re-order sale is 100 times easier to get than a sale from an ad, or a sale from a cold call. What strategy do you have in place to stay in front of your customers in times of ‘’non-sale’’ as much as you do in times of ‘’sale’’.
Try this – Include relationship-building strategies in every re-order. After you take that order, ask each of the next set of customers ‘’why’’’ they bought from you and what you could do next time that would make ordering easier. Customers always have the best ideas to improve your business.
Measure your ‘’friendly’’ factor
Friendly is at the epicentre of your business. The value of ‘friendly’ is beyond measure – it costs nothing, yet it’s worth a fortune. Survey your staff, survey your customers and vendors – get frequent (anonymous) feedback. Ask questions that get to the truth about happiness. Get the pulse from the heart.
Take customer problems seriously – not their language or tone personally. Help them, solve their problems, get real with them, make them say ‘WOW’.
The Self-Test formula for successful customer service
- Be friendly first. Customer service starts with a friendly person who offers friendly words. How friendly is your business?
- Attitude precedes service. What are your thoughts? Positive all the time? How are you guiding them?
- Serve in terms of the customer. Customers only care about their situation not what your situation is. Are you serving them in terms of them or you?
- Recognize customers for what they are – your paycheck. How do you treat your paycheck?
- Listen all the way out. Make sure the customer has told you everything. Don’t interrupt. Ask questions to understand their problem better and to find out what it will take to help them – the way they want to be helped.
[READ ALSO: Why customers switch banks)
Word of mouth advertising is 50 times more powerful than advertising
One person telling another what to do – what to buy, where to shop, what and where to eat, what not to buy, eat, use. You just have to create that memorable customer service. What’s the word in the street about your business? How many people call you out-of-the-blue to place orders? How many people tell you positive stories they ‘’heard’’ about you?
What are the advantages of great service?
- It builds goodwill: Consistent service creates and builds reputation.
- It creates memorable experiences that will be retold over time and makes customers salespeople for your business.
Service is a feeling. You know what it is when you get it – so give back the same thing or more. The simple secret is – don’t give any feeling to others you wouldn’t want to feel. You know when you’re doing a good job, you can feel it. You also know when you’re doing your best. It is an inside feeling of YES!