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Customer service can be a deciding factor in business operations. No matter what your business type, blog, medical office, law firm, library, school district or corner, you must be concerned with customer service if you want to be the best and most profitable it can be.
I have been an entrepreneur for most of my adult life. This means that I earn my living by working to provide others with what they want in a way that pleases them. Like most entrepreneurs, I grew up hearing the expression, “the customer is always right.” Interestingly, I never believed that expression was true. However, I know and know full well that it is important to provide excellent customer service from the time before the sale until well after the sale is made. In many cases, it is a smarter idea to compete based on customer service rather than on price. For example, if you are selling a product or service that you do not have a monopoly over, other players in the market can lower their prices each time you lower your price. In fact, some companies with deep pockets have operated at a loss for years in order to drive competitors out of the market. Realistically speaking, there is only so much you can do to lower prices and remain profitable.
Prices can be lowered and lowered until an entrepreneur is literally paying customers to take the products or services offered. This may take business away from competitors in the short run, but this is not a sustainable business model. Competing on price alone is a hard way to do business. It teaches customers that all you have to offer is price savings and when that is absent from the equation, customers have no reason to come to a business. When you compete on customer service, you teach customers that they matter to you and that their existence is important to you. This is the start of a beautiful relationship.
Customer service is a weird and different type of arena. Many customer service policies are free of charge and can be done by any business no longer how long a company has been in business or how profitable the company’s operations. For example, employees can answer the phone with a smile. There is something about a smile that translates over the telephone and makes the person on the receiving end feel good about an interaction. When customers walk into your place of business and are greeted with a smile by employees, the customers feel welcome, at ease and are more likely to make purchases of products and services. These things do not cost a dime, but may lead to increased dollars for your business.
Customer service matters. Good customer service makes people feel good about coming to your business and doing business with you. That is good for your customers and it is good for you. The more customers like doing business with you, the more business they will do with you and the more profitable your business can be. It should come as no surprise that customers are more likely to do business with companies that make them feel good about themselves and the purchasing decision. In fact, given a choice between two companies one with a lower price and one with a better customer service policy, most customers will choose the better customer service policy. It is in your best interest to treat your customers as if they are important to you because they really are important to you!
Before you create or revise your customer service policy, you must decide what good customer service means for you and your organization. You must determine what you want your customers to think of when they think of your company. Do customers think:
If the answers to these questions are positive, things are off to a good start. If you cannot honestly answer these questions in a positive manner, you know it is time for improvement and you have some areas to start improving as soon as possible.
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