Active Duty or AWOL – What’s the Customer Service Level in Your Business?

Without customers there is no business.

And that’s why Customer Service is a key area that we focus on in Business Turnarounds. It’s one of those concepts that everyone understands is important, but often only in some generic “of course, we provide excellent customer serivce” way. It’s not often front and center until customer retention becomes an issue, and then it’s sometimes too late.customer service

Customers have more choices than ever before as businesses of all kinds expand into an online global marketplace. Today’s competitive advantage is in retaining your customers and building repeat business. That’s a lot easier than to keep hunting for new customers again and again.

Without customers there is no business.

This used to be the #1 Business Rule: “Take care of the customer or someone else will.” I have noticed a trend in the last few years towards thinking of customers as a nuisance, an interruption to daily routines. In short, we’ve lost sight of how our business bread gets buttered and our paychecks signed.

And customer service today is more complicated than it was 10 years ago. I’m afraid too many businesses are taking their customers for granted; they don’t recognize that what was good enough five years ago just doesn’t cut it anymore. Today, customers want it all – good price, fast delivery, great quality – and maybe a little extra “I really appreciate your business” bonus as well.

The Internet, social media, and our relentless 24-hour new cycle means that every perceived “slip” in customer service is instantly known and broadcast. But more than that, it means that our customers often have a short attention span – they’re looking for satisfaction in small bursts of great experience. And if they don’t get it, at the very least, they’re going elsewhere. At the most, they will be telling their proverbial 8-10 friends about it on Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter.

Without customers there is no business.

So what’s the answer?

It’s back to basic training for business leaders – you must make caring for your customers a top priority. This is how you bring your Customer Service efforts back from being AWOL!

It’s the leader’s responsibility to incorporate core Customer Service values into the company’s vision and strategy and then follow through to ensure that the customer is properly cared for and nurtured. It’s the leader’s responsibility to not only set the tone, but to lead the way, plotting the course, and setting the example.

And since you always want your people working towards common, specific, and measurable goals, in the next blog post I’m going to talk about how to change the customer service experience from the inside-out. How you treat and train your employees directly impacts the customer service experience – for better or worse. Let’s go for better, shall we?