What are the best ways to generate leads and attract follow-up business in tough times? The answer might surprise you!
Instead of slick branding tools to stand out in a changing market, research indicates it is relationship building/customer service that makes a difference. Many great companies like Disney, Amazon, Hilton and Zappos know that effective customer service is worth everything!
What is bad customer service? We all have a story, but this one happened to me. A national phone company had me on hold for an hour and a half as I was working on a problem I had with their service. The usual happened; I was hung up on, transferred to the wrong department, put on hold for long periods of time and finally, when I got to one of their “Customer Care” people who said she also had to transfer me to another department, I asked was there any guarantee I wouldn’t get hung up on again. She laughed and said (and I kid you not), “Well, cross your fingers and pray!”
For many, customer service has become an anachronism, not considered important enough to invest time and energy into these days. Yet it’s the valued service that becomes word of mouth referrals and paves the way for employee morale, new business and success in a challenging economy.
My Customer Service Program covers all the basics like the importance of demonstrating care to all customers, knowing your product well, offering high quality at all times, knowing what your customer needs and helping each customer feel valued and special. However there are many other facets to creating enduring customer service:
- Tools to keep employees motivated and inspired
- Skills to gracefully handle conflict
- Ways to use empathy to create a bond with customers
- Techniques to handle stress effectively
- Ideas to reinforce the “Perception is reality” rule
Great products, competitive pricing and timely delivery are all important, but if the customer service is not wonderful--whether online, on the phone or in person--then the customer will go elsewhere. We’ve heard it before and it still applies: People don’t care how much you know when they know how much you care!