My love affair with Customer Service began over forty years ago.
Six weeks after graduating from high school, at 16 years old, I was hired by one of the largest commercial banks in Jamaica.
Within the first three months, I was one of a number of employees sent on multiple off-site training courses. The second was a Customer Service training which lasted an entire week.
That training created a pivotal turning point in my new career as it empowered me and gave me the confidence to deliver extraordinary results for the customers who walked into the imposing lobby of the bank.
By a simple warm greeting with a smile and addressing them by name, it transformed persons who were not regular customers from hesitant to confident and from a worried frown to a pleasant smile.
Developing a customer-focused outlook served me well in the next stage of my career with internal and external customers, as well as in subsequent years and jobs.
Customer Service in Today’s Economy
Customer Service in today’s economy remains an important focus of businesses, and it is the beginning. It’s where it all begins, yet more is now required.
Consumers are more informed and their expectations have increased, therefore ‘good customer service’ is no longer good enough. You have to raise the bar and deliver excellent customer service.
In addition to excellent customer service, you must create experiences for your customers.
Customer Experience in Today’s Economy
According to the Adobe Annual Trends Digital Report, customer experience will be the game-changer for organizations of various sizes in 2020. The Report reveals that consistently good customer service experience has the potential to double revenue within 36 months.
I remember when “Rush Hour I” was first released and I went to see it with one of my daughters, who was a teenager at the time, we were smiling as we walked out of the theatre. It was one of the few movies that ended on a high note and I still recall the pleasant feeling.
Just as I remember that feeling many years later, by making every contact with your business a memorable one, your business will be associated with that warm, pleasant feeling which invites your customers to want to return to experience it again and again.
The Walker 2020 Customers 2020 Report noted that companies who win are “… the most forward-thinking companies – those that consciously and deliberately work at anticipating the future needs of their customers and devise strategies to deliver. Those that win in 2020 are the ones who begin preparing today.”
In highlighting the fact that customers are the ones who will dictate the experience, the Report noted that “The customer of 2020 will be more informed and in charge of the experience they receive. They will expect companies to know their individual needs and personalize the experience. The immediate resolution will not be fast enough as customers will expect companies to proactively address their current and future needs.”
How Can Small to Mid-Sized Business Fit Into Today’s Economy?
Small to mid-sized businesses must also take the time to learn how the face of customer service has changed and study the expectations of customers so that they can also create memorable customer experiences.
They cannot dig their head in the sand and pretend that it’s business as usual while ignoring the changes in today’s economy.
- Whether a business has one employee or 50, everyone needs to be on the same page. Everyone in the business must be clear on the core values of the business and be sure that those are reflected in the customer’s experience.
- Take the time to get to know customers on a deeper level so that you can anticipate their needs and make suggestions to make their life easier or better, beyond what they thought of, where possible.
- Your employees or contract workers are your internal customers. It’s important for them to be happy as this happiness will be reflected in the interactions with external customers.
- Talk with customers and get feedback. Evaluate and implement as needed. Very often the business owner is too close to her business so that while she believes the company is delivering the best possible service, her customers may disagree.
- Review your existing processes so that you eliminate any unnecessary duplication or steps that customers have to go through, whether they’re ordering online or in person.
It begins with excellent customer service. Your business will continue to grow and expand in sales and profit as you seek to create memorable experiences for your customers whether you’re a Solopreneur or a larger organization.