The hustle and bustle of the holidays are over and you look at the wonderful gifts you got, realizing that you've got two new Keurig's. As much as you love coffee, you know that you'll only use one of them. The next thing that pops into your head is the hassle of now returning one of those gifts. It's not because you are afraid of upsetting someone that got you the gift (that's why we all get gift receipts, right?). The true hassle is now having to deal with the "Happy" customer service department at the store or online company that you need to interact with. Over the past 20 years, the value and purpose of customer service within a company has changed, and not for the better. Don't get me wrong, there are some phenomenal companies with customer service and those companies continue to grow. However, if you think about your overall experience buying Fast Food, shopping at a Retailer, or dealing with your local Cable Provider, your blood pressure was probably higher than your doctor would like. As big corporations expand faster than your pants at Thanksgiving, the amount of training they invest in customer service appears to be minimal at best.
Don't get saddened by state of today's customer service though Grasshopper. It's with this knowledge that a new company or a small business can prey on a larger corporation. Customer Service is almost a super power that you can use to defeat the evil empires.
Learn to Listen
Building your business is based on knowing what the needs of your customer are today and tomorrow. Not only does it help you to provide what the customer wants / needs, but it also allows them to feel valued. This goes a long way in building that long term customer relationship in which cost isn't the number one factor in buying a product.
Being Wrong Makes You Perfect
The old adage that the customer is always right has gotten lost in time. Not because the customer is always right, but because our pride can sometimes get the best of us. If a mistake gets made in a business, regardless of who makes it, you've got to evaluate how big of deal it really is in the long term relationship of that customer or others. Bad interactions spread like wildfire in a local community so you want to ensure you're like Smokey the Bear and put the fire out before it swallows your business. In the end, do what's right for the right reasons.
Become Flexible like a Bendy Straw
In a business, you aren't always on the ideal schedule of your customers. Therefore, you may need to adjust to fit the needs of some customers to gain new business. It's called adjusting to the demands of doing business. That doesn't mean you become a slave to your business and run yourself to the ground. However, you need to be flexible to identify how you can best serve those that value your services and in turn you identify a need of your customers.
In closing, the value of good customer service can't be underestimated. It is probably the best product you can provide to your customer, and it doesn't even cost a dime to stock on your shelves. It just takes the time to stop and think of how you're going to provide it in a worthwhile and rewarding way that make your customers coming back for more!