Customer Service Starts by Being Naked in the Mirror

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Small businesses will save the economy and the American business model.

Our economy has undergone several changes in recent years and the customer demographic has followed suit. One game-changer has emerged among all levels – service is the differentiator among successful businesses. Consumers even state that they are willing to pay up to 14% more for better service for the same exact same product or service simply based on the attention they receive.

Small businesses have the advantage over large companies in that they can put changes into effect more quickly. Treating customers well is not only the right way to do business. Customers overwhelmingly cite their customer experience as what will keep them coming back over time and buying more products each visit.

 

Treating customers well is not only the right way to do business

 

Here’s the rub for small business leaders – really taking a hard look at the current state of their business and service levels requires getting naked in front of the mirror (figuratively).

It’s hard to come to terms with the difference between how you WANT to be seen by your customers and the customers’ actual perception. Think of it like this… most of us would love to fit into the same clothes we wore as teenagers, but few of us actually can.

We know we would gain an advantage to our health if we dropped weight and increased muscle mass. However, that would take a lot of work. And maybe if we cover it up by wearing darker colors, no one will really notice how out of shape we are.

Once you take an honest look at where you currently are, then you can start to recognize what specifically you’d like to be delivering to your customers. Imagine that all pistons are firing as they should and you have a top notch team in place. You’ve set service expectations for everyone and the culture is completely customer-focused. What would be different in that model than your current one?

That’s where the magic happens. There’s no shame in admitting you aren’t where you need to be. That’s the beauty of it. Now you know where you’re starting from and where you want to be in six months to a year.

It’s a straightforward plan to get you to where you want to be.

Hire Right

Hire the smile, train the skill.

Establish a Customer Centric Culture

Change the mindset to the customer, not the company.

Set and train for the Customer Service Minimum Expectations

Specifically lay out what needs to be experienced by every customer who comes into contact with your company.

Hold everyone accountable for their part

Even if you aren’t working face to face with a customer, you’re working to support someone who does. Do your part.

Provide ongoing customer focus and training

A shot in the arm won’t sustain the customer focus. Leadership is required to model the mindset and to teach by example on a daily basis for the long term.

The best part is that it is far simpler than most people expect.  Some work is required, but it’s not complicated.

The return on investment is realized almost instantly with increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. With customer engagement comes a partnership with your business and your customer becoming an integral part of your business direction. When you’ve earned their trust, customers will tell you what will keep them coming back and bringing their friends.

 

With customer engagement comes a partnership with your business

 

All that’s needed is to begin with that hard, honest look in the mirror. Own up to where you currently are and understand that you aren’t yet where you need to be. Then, get everyone on board to bring you to the ideal. If you’ve done everything right, you’ll soon reap the financial rewards.

 

Want more? The series continues here: Customer Service is Head & Shoulders Above When You’ve Got Their Back 

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Kristina Evey helps companies improve the way they connect with their customers. She is the owner of Centric Strategies, a firm oriented toward developing a cultural mindset focused on the customer. Her strategy is to ensure that everyone within a company or group is of the same “Customer Centric” mindset.

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