Your Customers May Not Love You As Much As You Think
Roses are Red, and Violets are Blue; Improving Customer Relationships is Key for You.
I cringe whenever I hear a small business owner or executive boast about how much their customers love them. How do you know your customers love you? Because they keep giving you money? It would be sad if that were your only metric. Remember that 80% of the companies in the market claim they deliver superior customer service, while only 8% of consumers think those same companies deliver superior customer service.
A client who does repeat business with you is not a strong indication of love. You have frequent users who actively dislike doing business with you but don’t say a word. Only about 4% will share their dissatisfaction with you. So why do they keep coming back? Because they love you? No, because the switching cost is too high, there’s not another viable alternative — yet, or you aren’t a big enough priority in their decision-making (i.e., they’re just not that into you.) The brutal fact is that it’s improbable that all your clients love you. The good news is that they don’t all have to for you to have solid and reputable customer satisfaction.
Good client service involves an ecosystem built on your reliability, responsiveness, and commitment to the relationship. Like any relationship you value, it requires proactive effort, cultivation, and vigilant attention.
How well are you doing? Below is a series of thought-starters, each with a follow-up prompt to hold you accountable and “prove” your claim. Use this as a guide for how committed you or your organization are to customer service. Don’t cheat yourself or your clients; answer honestly.
1. Is your organization focused on customer service improvement? What was the last thing you improved?
2. Does your company have a formal process for improving customer service? Where is it documented, and who has access to it?
3. Does your organization inspect customer service processes? How do you know it works?
4. Is your organization’s vision of ideal customer service clearly defined? What is it?
5. Has your organization calculated the cost of losing a client? How much are they worth?
6. Are the employees in your organization clear about who their internal and external customers are? Do they serve them differently?
7. Does your organization measure customer satisfaction? How?
8. Are customer-facing employees free to take action to resolve a negative customer experience? How much authority do they have, and do they know you trust them?
9. What strategies does your organization use to improve customer satisfaction? Name them.
10. Does your organization engage in regular training to improve customer service? What was the last one? When is the next one scheduled?
11. What are your organization’s current vital few customer improvement issues? Knowing what you now know, what is your most important next action?
Don’t be arrogant about your customer service. Even if you are doing a fantastic job, it doesn’t sell well for you to brag. When you overestimate your claims, you set up unfulfillable expectations for new prospects. As a small business owner, executive, or stakeholder, use the questions above to improve customer service in your organization.
Karl Bimshas is a Boston-bred, California-chilled Leadership Consultant, Writer, and Podcast Host. With a B.A. in Mass Communications from Emerson College and an M.S. in Executive Leadership from the University of San Diego, Karl has been helping individuals and teams uncover their hidden potential and strengthen essential leadership skills since 2009. As the founder of Karl Bimshas Consulting, he provides customized leadership development and accountability partnering to help employees and teams grow and succeed. Follow Karl for valuable advice on thriving in today’s workplace.