Customer service is a super important part of any company, especially when you are in the midst of growth. Most people equate customer service to retail, but every company – whether they have a dedicated department or not – must have customer service skills to survive. What do you think of when you think of customer service? Perhaps you consider escalation management, follow-up calls, etc. You’d be correct. However, what about your daily interaction with your customers? There is the old adage “the customer is always right”, we know that’s not true, but we accept it because let’s face it – that’s where the money comes from! At the end of the day, every interaction with your clients is an opportunity to exercise customer service.
If you’re building a company – or your company is growing – you’ll likely need to restructure your business processes to facilitate a new customer service approach. Change management allows us to control the flow of the business and generally works from a top down approach. For example, a manager who exhibits good relationship building with their customers is demonstrating the proper approach to those on their team. Customer service needs to be part of your company culture to ultimately be successful. By building an awesome team of employees around you that feel, and demonstrate, that culture on a daily basis will make it a lot easier to maintain good customer service.
It’s inevitable that you, or your employees, will get stressed and provide ‘bad’ customer service. This is especially likely to happen when your company expansion is accelerated. The notion of good customer service needs to come from the top down in a company; i.e. treating a customer well needs to start at the top of the hierarchy (people learn from exposure!). It’s important to find a decent balance between the customer always being right and benefiting your business. There is an air of respect that is needed – and is inherently earned – with customers, this respect and rapport will allow you to make better decisions for your business that your client will inevitably accept out of trust. The same goes for your employees – at the end of the day you need to respect your customers and appreciate their business with you – it really comes down to perception. The benefit of respect, rapport, and appreciation? Good reviews and repeat business!
Overall, customer service is an inherent part of any business – whether it is existing in a physical department or if it is a natural extension of your employees’ daily duties. It’s a critical aspect of growth, as the outputs of good customer service are: repeat business and positive referrals. These are really the foundation of earning business from current clients and new opportunities. Ensure that your management team is on board with the culture and the process improvements regarding the new customer service approach – this will assist in facilitating the right environment as you continue to grow. In addition, you’ll find that when everyone has adopted the new approach, it will come naturally to you and your company – similarly any new employees will instantly catch on to the culture.
Check back on Friday December 9th for the Challenges of Growing a Company Part 3.