I have a question for you, for all of us really: Do you know what business you are in?
Yes, I know what you are thinking – what kind of dopey question is that? Of course you know what business you are in. If you own a car wash, you are in the car cleaning business. If you are a chiropractor, you are in the healing business. Right?
Let me suggest that no matter what your answer is, it should be, “I am in the customer satisfaction business.” And the difference between the business that gets that and the one that doesn’t probably is the difference between the business that has more customers than it knows what to do with and the one that is struggling to keep the doors open.
No matter what your answer is, it should be, “I am in the customer satisfaction business.
Indeed, no matter what your business, if you are not hyper-focused on customer satisfaction, it is probably safe to assume that you likely are having a tough time.
There is no shortage of surveys that seek to list those companies that have great, and poor, customer service. But no matter which survey you look at, the list of companies that offer top-notch customer service vary very little. Typically, you will see listed companies such as
What is also noticeable about this list is that these considered not only some of the best businesses in the country, but companies that have incredibly loyal followings. And that’s the point. By thrilling (yes, thrilling) your current customers, you put yourself way ahead of the game. Current customers are far more likely to keep buying from you, they worry less about prices, and they have a tendency to spread the gospel via word of mouth. Additionally, stressing great customer service sets you apart from the crowd, makes getting new customers far easier, builds your brand, and thus bolsters the bottom line. Truly happy customers become evangelists for your business.
That’s the value of understanding that you are in the customer satisfaction business.
The other thing to notice about the list above is that each of these companies stress customer service in different ways. Nordstrom’s is famous for its return policy. Amazon makes buying quick and easy, “1 click” even. Hyatt works hard to give you exactly what you expect from a nice hotel – friendly staff, clean comfortable rooms, amenities, ease. Type ‘Hyatt’ and ‘great customer service’ into your browser and you will see scores of rave Trip Advisor reviews.
Or consider Chick-Fil-A. According to Fast Company, “Every year Chick-Fil-A spends more than a $1 million evaluating its service. In addition to traditional focus groups, the company conducts a quarterly phone survey with customers from each restaurant. The 20 or so questions focus on four factors that most affect loyalty according to Chick-Fil-A research: taste, speed, attentiveness and courteousness, and cleanliness.
“Each location then receives a two-page report detailing how it's doing in each area and how it compares to the chain's top performers. In other words, what's working and what needs improving.”
So the question is, how can you up your customer service? You can offer freebies to customers, “schmooze them up”, do more than they expect, ask them how you can better serve them, better serve them – the list is endless.
Whatever the case, just know that once you do that, they too will get what business you are really in – the service business.
Today’s tip: One way to treat customers well is to stay in touch with them and offer them special deals, valuable info, new promotions, and more, via email. I have long been an evangelist for email newsletters & marketing, and recently I was given a tour of the cool new email marketing product from Vertical Response. It certainly makes staying in touch easy, and affordable.
What I liked best about the tool is that is combines email marketing and social media into one fast, easy-to-use interface. With drag-and-drop capabilities and lots of intuitive templates, Vertical Response’s mobile-friendly e-newsletter/social media tool is also free for small businesses with lists under 1,000, and very affordable with those who have bigger lists. Steve says check it out.