This is a guest post by Fretty Francis.
Putting customers first might sound like an obvious thing to do. You have heard (and said it) so many times that it has become a cliché. Unfortunately, very few businesses have truly instituted a customer service philosophy that prioritizes the customer. Businesses are more concerned about increasing their profit margins, clearing the bills and the bottom lines at the expense of great customer service.
Sooner or later, customers realize they are not part of your cash-minting scheme and disappear. So what happens to your money-making tree? Your guess is as good as mine – it withers and dies off! Putting your customer service first means more business for your company. That way, you will find a whole lot of other things naturally falling into place.
Here are a few reasons why putting your customer first could pay you handsomely.
Key To Great Publicity
Today’s customer is highly empowered. Thanks to leaps in technology, your customers have a clear conduit through which they can access alternative service providers. Technology also gives the customers a platform to amplify their praises and vent their complaints through email and social media platforms.
Why should you be worried? According to a survey conducted by American Express, 46% of respondents said they always share their experiences with others if they had good service interactions. More interestingly, most respondents said they would be happy to tell their friends about the company and even recommend the services or products to a friend or family member(s).
So what happens if you don’t treat your customers right? You can’t get away with having subpar customer service. If customers are quick to share their good experiences with your business, expect that they will be more willing to tell people about your appalling customer service. According to the findings of the American Express survey, a larger number of respondents (60%) said they would be happy to share the horrible customer experiences with friends and family members.
You know what that means? The survey found that about 37% of respondents would switch companies in the event of bad customer services. A whopping 58% of others would only endure two or three experiences. In other words, your business books will be closing – and, furiously so. Isn’t that a big price to pay?
Make Your Customers Love You More
It costs up to five times to acquire a new customer than to retain the existing ones. So, it makes make sense when you don’t want to spend thousands trying to win a new customer. It’s more rewarding to keep the existing ones happy.
The thing is, customers who have experienced your services or products before convert better. In fact, a research conducted by Bain & Company found out that an increase in customer retention rates by 5% would result in an increase of profits by 25% to 95%.
However, you must provide a good reason to have people stick to your brand. Forget about offering that massively differentiated product, at competitive prices. While that might be your clever strategy to attract and keep more customers, it might also backfire on you.
For example, as a startup, you don’t have the luxury of resources to compete with experienced brands. You will soon be considering a switch to a different venture if a huge brand, who happens to be your fierce competitor, decides to review their pricing downwards.
You might not have the lowest pricing compared to your competitors. You may not be a Fortune 500. You might not be hoarding billions of cash waiting to fund your next sales strategy. But customers will love you for the experiences you give them.
Prevents Employee Turnover Conundrum
Your employees make the face of your business – the interface where your business and customers interact. If your employees don’t take pride in what they do, they are not going to drive your “make the customer happy agenda” home. That means reduced productivity while revenues will take a nosedive.
To stay above the noise, you need to start a culture that ‘bribes’ the employees to deliver topnotch customer care. Many established brands that have stood the test time have created a philosophy and culture that promotes customer care. According to Chess CEO, David Pollock, creating time to celebrate good customer service is part of their “ culture to exceed customer expectations.” The company uses events like ‘National Customer Service Week’ to “celebrate the energy, enthusiasm, and passion our people provide to our customers.” What are the results? It not only makes Chess a great place to work, but also leads to increased customer satisfaction.
Fattens Your Bank Account
Today, every company is out to gloss up their balance sheets. Businesses are coming up with more profit-oriented strategies at the expense great customer service. But, what could be so wrong with this money-centered approach? Emphasizing the importance of putting the customer first, Raymond Albert Kroc, the man behind McDonald’s says:
“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.”
In other words, Ray means if you don’t curve into the pursuit of greater profit margins, you’ll ultimately win in the increasingly ruthless business environment. Besides, if you want them to pay more, give them top customer care experience they can’t get elsewhere.
Motivates Customers To Offer ‘exactly What They Needed’ Feedback
Technology makes it easy to derive all kinds of data about the customer – the change of consumer behavior, preferences, needs, etc. While that power of analytics and data processing might give insights into what the customers want from the business, but sometimes, businesses wish they could get an answer straight from their customers.
You need this feedback to understand the WHYs behind most consumption decisions. You would probably also want to know why a thousand customers prefer this particular feature over the others. You probably also want to know why many customers stop creating accounts at the last step. These are some of the areas that your powerful analytical skills might fail you.
So by matching direct customer feedback to the insights you are getting from your analytics, you will get a much better and clearer picture of what’s going on. But if your employees are not trained to see customer feedback as a straightforward resource that helps them spur growth and increase profits, the feedback will be in vain.
If there is a magic bullet in customer service, it is putting the customer first. Great customer service has the power to transform your business and bring about financial security. For you to stand out from your competition, you have to create good relationships with your customers and your employees. You have to cultivate a strong customer care culture that incentivizes your employees to establish and maintain good relationships with your customers. So that your customers will not only love your product or services, but also the way they do business with you.
Author Bio: Fretty Francis works as a digital marketing executive at SoftwareSuggest, an online platform which helps businesses, organizations and professionals in selecting the best software solutions. Her interests include helpdesk software, ecommerce platforms, photography, and food. In her spare time, she likes to travel and catch up on her reading.