The Ten Commandments Of World Class Customer Service - Commandment Two
Always Remember - If You Forget Your Customers, They'll Forget You
As customers we go to a place of business for the first time out of curiosity or a specific need. Something about the business captured our interest. Maybe it was the color, style or type of a product in a window or an ad in a magazine or newspaper or a specific item the business offered that we needed. Something captured our attention and we agreed to investigate the business further. We agreed to give them a chance to show us how grateful they are that we are interacting with their business instead of a number of other businesses that offer the same product or service at the same price or quality. The fact that we're standing in their retail or wholesale space or shopping with them on line should be seen by the business as a gift, an opportunity to begin a dialogue that will either end up as a "no sale", a "single sale" or a long term business relationship that will support the business for years to come through all kinds of economic ups and downs. And the choice we as customers make is almost entirely controlled by the service the business provides.
The simple fact of the matter is that every one of us, as customers, are forced to establish business relationships with a number of different small and large businesses everyday whether we like it or not. We have to do business with grocery stores, clothing stores, restaurants, banks, gas stations, cleaners, medical offices, schools, phone and cable companies and many others. And it's because we need these services that we give these businesses a steady stream of opportunities to demonstrate how much and in what ways they appreciate the money we're spending with them instead of with their competition. And the businesses that demonstrate, through their people, policies and practices, that they understand how truly important and appreciated the customer is will both increase their chances of not just staying in business and growing, but actually flourishing even in very difficult times.
A key business character trait necessary to develop great service is humility. Most businesses say in their marketing that the customer always comes first, but run their operations in a way that says just the opposite. From their irrational and unnecessarily restrictive return and replacement policies, to their total lack of interest in customer satisfaction, to their rude and disrespectful sales approach and lack of after care, they say over and over again that it's really the business that comes first. They are only interested in taking the customers money and ignoring the customers short and long term value and needs. World class customer service isn't delivered by just stating it in print, it takes actions and commitments that are visible and consistent. If the business forgets the value of the customer, they will, we will, forget the business, because we can.