10 Mar How Focusing on Customer Service Will Elevate Your Life and Business
In terms of business, the digital age has changed the way we all handle our work. With instant access to each other via Facebook, Instagram, Google, and Yelp, there are so many avenues to reach out to potential clients and customers, receive feedback, and get a sense of how your business and services are being perceived by others. The question is; however, is it working and are these outlets equating into revenue?
So, when you boil it down, what people still want in terms of business, sales, and customers, is the feeling of being heard, seen, understood, and appreciated. That is why business owners and professionals are now digging deep to adjust their marketing plans and business structures to ensure that their focus continues to be centered around customer service first and foremost.
According to an article in Forbes magazine, more than 55 percent of people still want to talk to a real human being. In the world of chatbots, automation, and outsourcing, customers still want to feel like their questions, comments, and concerns are still being received by someone who genuinely cares about their wants and needs. The article also mentioned that a survey found that when people were faced with a phone-tree (push 1 for this or push 2 for that), 73 percent of customers skip the robocall and go right to the human first. These statistics just go to show that human relationships are still a vital part of the business and are pivotal for any company looking to survive the digital boom. An article in the Harvard Business Review, titled Your Customers Still Want to Talk to a Human Being, says the same thing. While the internet has opened up new ways of communicating, humans still prefer to talk one on one. And an article in Retail Dive states 70% of consumers still prefer human interaction.
This is a concept that Stan Valadzko, owner of SV Professional Cleaning, says works for him. By focusing on customer service first and foremost, he has found that his business is excelling in the digital realm. While all business owners are numbers people, he said he has made it a point to not lose sight of the real reason he started his business, and that was to provide customers with optimum service.
“I found that by being available and responsive to my customers, listening to them, hearing them, and adjusting my business plan accordingly, I’ve successfully established reoccurring customers who feed back into my business by sharing their satisfaction with others. Word of mouth is and will forever be your best marketing strategy,” he said.
Here are some ways you can choose to stick out by putting customer service first:
- Making One-on-One Meetings a Priority
The time of hiding behind your computer is coming to an end. That might be how you connect with someone in the first place, but it is just the beginning. It is important to branch outside of your comfort zone and make it a point to speak with potential customers and clients in-person. You can do this by showing up with your staff for an appointment. Even if you are the owner, it never hurts to go along and meet with the people funding your business one-on-one. You can assess the work of your staff and also hear feedback during the service in real-time. You can also ask your customers to fill out a survey (not via email) after the service is finished. Have one of your staff members give the customer or customers the sheet to fill out at the time of service so you can retrieve it in person.
- Establishing Relationships
Like with all things in life, relationships matter and business is no exception. When you or your staff are meeting with a customer for the first time, make sure to evaluate your intentions. Are you simply trying to close the deal, or do you want to get to know them, hear what it is they are looking for and how you can help, and go from there? We all love being able to feel like we know the person that we are doing business with so why should your service be anything different? Some practical ways to do this would be to join a local networking group. You can network with potential customers and build authentic relationships with them. You can also use your marketing to do so, by showing your support in your community by sponsoring local sports teams or causes that are aligned with your consumer base. In return, your brand will be seen by potential customers and you will have created a heart-felt connection with potential customers.
- Creating a Safe and Trusting Environment
Trust is key in life. Without trust, a business cannot succeed in the long-term. By creating a space for your potential customers that evokes a sense of trustworthiness, you are leveling yourself up from the competition and building a foundation for your success. One way to do this is by creating a comfortable meeting place at your work where you can do business. Make your office a warm and welcoming environment with art, plants, and open meeting spaces. Another way is by establishing guidelines in the workplace that will help you win the hearts and minds of your potential customers. Another way you can do this is by being a person of your word. Make sure if you say your service will only take a certain amount of time you follow through with that. If you’re a service company, consider implementing a two-hour service window (maybe not two hours necessarily but a timeframe that makes sense to your industry) to make sure you are serving their customers in a respectable amount of time. Other practical ways you can create trust with your customers is by not overselling and under-delivering. Be realistic about your customer’s needs and be honest with them about what is reasonable in their price range.
- Having Integrity with your product
Customers value integrity, and you should too. By investing back into your business to make sure your product and service are up to par, you will be showing your customer base that it’s not just about the money, it’s also about the work you can provide. If you don’t stand by your product, how can you expect your customers to stand by it? With so much going on in the world, we as business owners may want to make things easier from time to time, but by going the extra mile and ensuring quality in your work you will be establishing yourself apart from the competition. Some ways you can have integrity with your product is by upgrading your service company’s equipment, offering professional development education and certifications to your staff, and staying up to date with the latest trends and what the competition is doing so you don’t fall behind.
Those are some of the keys to customer service that will help you and your team thrive this year. As the digital realm continues to grow, it is important to view it as a tool and an extension of your business but to stay grounded in providing ultimate customer service in the end. We cannot lose sight of our humanity as business owners and must be firm in our conviction in the end. Customers, in return, will be naturally drawn to you and your services. So do your best to not lose sight of the big picture in the fast-paced world we all live in today. And that is to value our customers first because they are what make what we do possible at the end of the day.