Big Picture - August 2017 - 13
THE NUMBERS TO BACK IT UP
So, why go to the pains of establishing high-performing
customer service to your clients? The following statistics
provide some insight into the impact of both good and poor
* 58 percent of consumers are willing to spend more at
companies that provide excellent customer service. (American
* 82 percent of consumers have stopped doing business
with a company because of bad customer service experiences.
* 25 percent of customers are likely to say something
positive about their customer service experience. (Harvard
* 65 percent are likely to speak negatively about their
customer service experience. (Harvard Business Review)
* 23 percent of customers who had a positive experience
told 10-plus people about it. (Harvard Business Review)
* 48 percent of people who had negative experiences told
10 or more people about it. (Harvard Business Review)
* 30 percent of customers share positive reviews on social
* 45 percent of customers share negative reviews on social
At times, we can make the quest
for excellent customer service more
complicated than it needs to be. In reality,
all we need to do is ask ourselves, 'Am I
taking care of the problem?' That's the
fundamental basis of great customer
service: taking care of people's problems,
no matter what they are.
With all of the avenues available through social media,
review sites like Yelp, and online testimonials, we live in a world
with instant and constant communication. That can be good or
bad. If you're doing great things in your company and providing
top-notch customer service, the resulting positive messages
from customers can boost your company's reputation significantly. On the other hand, negative experiences with customers
can quite possibly become public. And according to the
statistics above, the chances are almost double that negative
interactions will be shared over positive ones. Even if your
company is currently doing very little e-commerce, don't
believe for a minute that you are immune to negative feedback.
In this day and age, all savvy buyers will do significant research
about a company before using them.
The availability of data about you and your shop can be
frightening at times, but it's the world we live in. Raising your
level of customer service will go a long way toward ensuring
that you're able to retain your current customers, as well as
place your company in a favorable place to earn new business.
Establishing a great customer service policy will be a positive
foundation piece of your business for years to come.
discussions of costs, timeframes, who's at fault, etc., are
much easier to navigate.
The concept of "taking care of the customer" without
question requires a company-wide commitment. It's simple
to rectify a customer issue when we're the ones at fault. When
it's our mistake, it becomes easier to energize the staff to
resolve the issue and to motivate them to do it urgently.
However, it becomes much more challenging when there are
gray areas as to whose fault the problem really is. For
example, assume that you receive a customer request to
produce a job, and someone inputs the job incorrectly. This is
clearly your mistake. But let's complicate things a little bit.
Assume that you also email your client a job confirmation
ticket with the wrong information and they approve it. You
proceed with the job and once it's finished, both you and the
customer discover that it's incorrect. Who bears the blame? In
other words, how are you going to take care of the problem?
In this case, you may often negotiate with the client and
share some financial responsibility, enabling both parties to
resolve the situation amicably. But ensuring excellent
customer service becomes even more challenging when
you're right and your customer is wrong, but they don't agree.
We all have situations when we know for a fact that we are
correct and the customer is not, but, for whatever the reason,
they are not admitting guilt.
Now, you're faced with a rather tough decision. Do you
bite the bullet and take the hit, even though it will cost you
time and money? Or do you confront your client and let them
know they're wrong and they'll be responsible for the
problem? Frankly, the answer to these questions probably
varies from case to case.
The best approach is to err in favor of the customer as
often and as far as you possibly can. Although it will feel
difficult at times, the upside to creating immediate customer
happiness is a long-term business relationship. If the customer
is, in fact, wrong, but isn't willing to budge in a certain
situation, chances are high they know they're wrong. If you're
willing to concede the problem in their favor, they'll probably
be even more loyal to your business.
One exception to this approach would be the case of
a client consistently taking advantage of your customer
service. We've had, on rare occasions, clients we know are
being intentionally dishonest with us and taking advantage
of our policy that the client is always correct. Rather than
get into controversial and emotional conversations with
them, we have quietly let them know we are probably not the
best vendor for them, and they should search for a different
option to accommodate their needs. So yes, on occasion,
we have fired a client. Just because you provide excellent
customer service doesn't mean you have to find yourself
in a situation where a customer is constantly taking advantage of you.