Customer Service is a Crucial Element of Sustainability
Customer service is an interesting topic because different companies have dramatically different results. Maybe you can recall a time when you had an issue that you needed to be resolved-called the company expecting a long drawn out phone call after being bounced around from this department to that extension and then finally to a person who you had to explain the whole problem over to again only to be disappointed with the outcome, yet instead you got ahold of someone quickly, took note of their analytic and problem solving skills and had your problem solved in a timely manner. When you hung up the phone, you just said “wow.” 
Customer service is either lacking or it’s an excellent asset to your business.
As a business and as leaders in our space, it’s our job to alleviate the consumers’ headaches. We are problem solvers. When customers call, we should greet them like they are the reason we’re in business because they are! We should ask them how they are because we genuinely care about their well-being. As a business serving the people, our job is to make our customers happy. We are completely failing if they are not. The number one thing that keeps a business alive is its customers. We need to take care of them at all costs. 
Customer service breaks down into several categories:
  • Before They Become a Customer
  • They Become a New Customer
  • They’ve Been a Customer for a Short Time
  • They’ve Been a Customer for a Long Time
  • They Are an Integral Part of Our Success
    Customer service starts here. When someone approaches you or your business expecting answers to their unique problem, they are analyzing your every movement. 
    They are building a mental file on your behaviors and your problem-solving abilities.
    From your tone of voice to your vocalizations of acknowledgments, you’re being judged. And rightfully so. Your soon-to-be client is assessing your abilities to fix what they need fixed. If you qualify, you get the job, if you don’t make a good impression, you’ve lost the job. You must be ready to handle weight. Your job is to answer their questions with honest, easy-to-understand but detailed answers that guide them closer to reaching their goal. This sounds like a sales course but really this is customer service. By helping them upfront, you’re showing them that you are an honest and useful resource. Someone who has their best interest at heart. Make the right impression upfront by helping them for free. Be their guide and their “fixer,” that’s how you move on to the next step.
    This is the next step. You’ve proven that you’re capable of delivery. From here you can really go above and beyond and blow them away with your skills and abilities. Show your customers that you care by answering the phone quickly, asking the right questions, assessing their issue and solving it quickly. This should be a no-brainer. However there are so many companies that just don’t put in the effort. There are more companies than you can imagine that lack proper customer service. When you have clients, take care of them. Tell them how you appreciate them and their time. Depending on whether you’re a B2B or B2C and what industry you’re in things may be different but the foundation of proper customer service remains true. Respond the way you would want someone to respond if the roles were switched and you were the customer. 
    At this point, your client has been with you for a short while. Every business is slightly different, but say for example you’re selling services to other companies (that’s an extremely broad example so it applies to many businesses) are you maintaining the relationship? Are you showing your appreciation to your client? Did you wish your client “Happy Holidays” or “Happy New Year?” As a business, the only way you stay in business is if you have customers. And more often than not, it’s the group of returning customers that keep you in business. 
    It’s a crucial element of sustainability.
    A short time doesn’t mean just a few weeks. It means several months maybe even a year or two or three. Three years is still not a long time. If you are doing things right, you should retain your clients for many years to come if not for a lifetime. 
    But the only way you get to retain loyalty for a lifetime is to be loyal with unbroken consistency.
    Your customers are your oxygen supply. If they disappear, so do you.
    At this stage it can get boring and possibly exhausting to keep up this far. However, it’s your consistency and your ability to care that has kept your client happy. Customer service isn’t just about answering the phone with passion and with helpfulness, it’s not just about calling or emailing your clients happy holiday wishes. It’s about how deep your interest in their success goes. It’s about you making your client happy. The more you genuinely care, the more helpful you’ll be and what follows being helpful is opportunity. If your customer has been in business with you for a long time, it may be because you’re doing some things right. But a little appreciation goes a long way. It’s up to you to be creative to come up with a thoughtful way to give back. Although business may sometimes seem transactional and black and white, it’s really a relationship and it’s up to you how much you nurture that relationship. 
    What you do right for someone can come back many times more by a “different someone.”
    All you have to do is put in a little effort. Watch where it takes you.
    Anyone who’s been with you for a long time is contributing to your success.
    It’s nice to acknowledge that. Many companies do a great job at maintaining, but this is for the companies who don’t do as good of a job or at all. The amount of appreciation is up to you. The frequency of acknowledgment or gifting is up to you. Your creativity will guide you and provide the most thoughtful result. The purpose of this article is to ingrain the principal of customer service. Your clients/customers are the reason you are in business. Don’t ever forget that. And since every business is different it pays to audit your own systems and decide where you need to focus on improving. Everyone has room for improvement. And everyday if we try to do a little better, big things will start to happen for us. Good things will take place. And that’s not a possibility, that’s just a natural side effect of EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE.
    What are you going to do to improve your:
    1. Internal systems
    2. Customer experience
    3. Short-term client relation strategy 
    4. Long-term client relation strategy