My original title for this blog post was somewhat controversial and was going to read;
Companies DESERVE to fail when they have poor customer service.
Then I though to myself it was a bit harsh and I will give benefit of the doubt to some managers and CEO’s that may not be aware of the poor customer service that is happening at the front lines of their companies and there are a lot of lessons entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs can learn.
I’m not one to make formal complaints… I make for much better use of my time as it is significantly more valuable than the effort it would take to make a fuss over service. But, from a business perspective, as far as take home lessons for entrepreneurs… there have been two significant instances from memory where bad service and good service can teach a lot about business and what effects service quality can have on a companies profitability.
Years ago at about 9 pm one evening I was on my way home from some errands when I decided to drive through a very well known chicken take out company. Upon having my order requested and me asking for what the company does best… chicken, I was told, “Ah, sorry, we don’t have any chicken at the moment…” to which my response was “What do you mean you don’t have chicken? That’s what you do, chicken, you’re kidding right?” after which I told them not to worry and I drove straight through and didn’t order anything.
- If you specialise in one specific product or service then you must implement controls, processes and systems that ensure you have solutions for your customers when a supply is in short. My experience resulted from a failure in business processes
- Ensure you have redundancy in place. This means back up suppliers or systems to turn to when regular supply is in short or there could be a delay in raw materials
- Ensure your staff can up-sell other options or services that could still be of benefit to the customer
The Department Store
I visited a department store to grab supply of ink cartridges but couldn’t see the brand on the shelf that I wanted. After approaching the staff counter to ask if they have it another staff member called over to the young guy serving me and said “Yeah, I don’t think we actually have any of them” to which my original staff assistant said he will check out the back for me anyway. He returned with the cartridges I wanted. This simple act of putting in the effort for the customer led to a sale and a retained customer. It may sound trivial but when you are talking about a scale-able business these small efforts are compounded throughout a company, especially when it is an international brand.
- Ensure your staff are willing to do the minimum amount of work they are paid to do
- Resourcefulness goes along way with customer service
- Caring about your customer and recognising that they are the single most important component to a business equal only to investing in your actual staff
If you are a business owner, what steps are you taking to ensure your customers’ obtain the best level of customer service?
Often, the quality of your customer service is a direct reflection of the quality of your internal company culture.
If your staff are not performing to the level required ask yourself what internal team and company culture are you supporting within your company that reflects back through your customer service.
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Image linked courtesy of brinkscheckout.com.