Outstanding customer service is the most important business weapon you have. This secret weapon will "differentiate" your company more than anything else. Another company may be able to outspend you in advertising and may have better equipment and so on, but you can create the most long term difference in the way your clients are treated. Further, if you can learn how to communicate what you are doing that is different, you will increase your customer loyalty, build your brand, and your referrals.
Differentiate through Service
All great businesses have found a way to be different than their competition - they have created a niche for themselves in their market. This is called "differentiation". Differentiating creates a "brand" for your company. In other words, prospects and clients feel a certain way about your company.
Differentiation can get you higher prices and create customer loyalty. Customer loyalty can dramatically increase your profit. The higher your repeat client rate, the more services they use, and the more often they use your service translates into powerful sales numbers. And since you don't have to spend big advertising dollars to get new clients, you make more money.
The first step
The first step in providing outstanding customer service is determining how you value a client and how your employees value your clients. If you find yourself constantly complaining about customers, and how they have inconvenienced you, you have already lost sight of what outstanding customer service is all about. If you routinely feel like your customers "wrong" you, then you have already missed the boat (or jumped off!).
Today's demanding customer can certainly tempt us to become cynical and negative. Don't give in to it. In fact, refuse to ever complain about a customer. Especially in front of an employee or another customer.
Your client is the lifeblood of your business.
If that telephone doesn't ring, you have nothing to do. Your customer owes you nothing. They should not have to wait on you or bend for you. They should not have to go out of their way for you. It is your job to give them the most outstanding service experience ever. Does that mean that you don't have difficult clients? No. It simply means that you need to raise your ceiling of commitment. You see, if you are like most people, you have already set a limit of what you will take from a customer. Over the next few weeks, observe your reactions when you are challenged by a customer.
When a customer throws an unreasonable demand at you, check your response. Are you immediately defensive? Observe your behavior and attitudes toward clients. So, the first step is to value your client for who they are. They are living, breathing, humans with needs. Realize also that the reason they "flare up" and get angry for seemingly no good reason, is because they have been mistreated by other so called "service" companies. They are constantly being stood up, rescheduled, lied to, and taken advantage of. It's like a dog that is constantly beaten by it's owner. Eventually, the dog will not let any human whatsoever approach him. Long after the abuse has ceased, the dog will still cower when approached by any human. Your customer has been taken advantage of. It is a serious problem in America
Next, realize the economic value of your client. Have you ever considered what the lifetime value of a client is? If a client spends $150.00 with you and repeats that habit every year, and refers 3 new clients with the same habit the first year, and refers only 1 client per year after the first year, each repeating the habit of spending $150.00 per year (or $300.00 every two years), that client would have a lifetime value of $72,000.00! WOW! Obviously every single client will not have that pattern, but you never know which one will and which one will not. So, every time your telephone rings, there is a potential $72k on the line. Every prospect you meet has a potential seventy two grand in their pocket. Every home you drive up to has a price tag on the front door: $72,000.00. Train yourself to think of the long term value of a client rather than the difficulty that you may be facing today. If you have employees, train them to think this way also.
Phenomenal Products, Inc.