Why good customer service saves money in the long term

old phoneCustomer service is crucial when running a business; get it wrong and the impact can be disastrous.  Average customer service is unremarkable, poor customer service can irritate and create a backlash that will increase negative PR, and outstanding customer service will be applauded.  Investing in systems, processes and training to ensure that your customer service is exceptional may seem a frivolous extra but undoubtedly will save your business money in the long term and enhance your business prospects.

Ways to make good customer service profitable

Invest in the right people: Staff are a business’s most expensive and valued commodity, and they are your brand, your service, and your first impression.  Do they believe in the business? Are they passionate about the goals and the vision?  If you can build your brand from the inside out and inspire loyalty from your team then high levels of customer service will follow as everyone will be focused on the same outcome.

Ensure you invest in strong training to ensure the right message is conveyed through every touch point with the customer.  This requires a reliable staff to help with the employee selection and onboarding process. These could be employees with traditional training such as masters in human resources, or simply a valued employee who’s judgment you trust.

Ask for feedback: Many dissatisfied customers might not convey their unhappiness; they may simply and quietly walk away, taking their business elsewhere and not telling you why.  Sending a short survey on a monthly basis asking them to rate their experience with you on a sliding scale is an easy way to find out what you do really really well and where you have fallen off the path of good customer service.  Act on the information you receive, ensure a senior member or business owner personally deals with any unsatisfied customers and offers a solution to the problem.

To acquire this information you can use a site such as Survey Monkey, which is easy and painless to use and translates the data is an easy to comprehend way, allowing you to act quickly upon receipt.

Invest in a good IVR

A professional Interactive Voice Response system can ease your customer’s journey, simplifying and therefore creating a more pleasurable experience with your business.  An IVR can offer customers chance to rate their experience instantly, so as a business you get real time feedback on your service, letting you recognize where you have got it right and act immediately if you have not hit the mark straight away.

Reward those who buy from you

Good customer service also means rewarding those customers who are loyal to you, rather than just incentivizing new clients to become customers.  All too often fantastic new deals are offered to prospective target clients and the regular customer is left out in the cold.  Acquiring a new customer can cost six times more than increasing spends in an existing account so ensure you are rewarding those who already spend within your business.  Thank them for their continued loyalty and look to network within their business to increase the visibility of your brand.  Give them great service and make them want to buy more!

About the author: Jane Blackmore is a freelance writer and trainer, with over twelve years in the recruitment industry managing a team, she is passionate about delivering good customer service and increasing client commitment levels.

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Comments

  1. Good customer service is very important. It pays off in multiple ways!

  2. Nordstrom has a very interesting business model on this. They operate with extreme deference to the customer, often at cost to themselves. Seems to work well, given their excellent brand image.

  3. There are industries where the message still hasn’t gotten home. Just the other day, I chatted with a rep on Sprint, pointing out that they’re offering phones at $100 less to ‘new’ customers than they are to existing customers. With three lines on our family plan, this could cost $300 extra when we upgrade. I pointed out that this was pretty crappy to customers like us who have been Sprint customers for upward of 10 years, and that they’d risk losing our loyal business in favor of a new customers, who would be an unknown. The rep basically could only say in so many words “Sorry, them’s the breaks.” Seems very backward to me and proves that Sprint has not gotten the message.

  4. An IVR system is definitely a way to save your business a lot of wasted time and money.
    But be warned; if it’s not designed right, your customers won’t use it a second time and your money is wasted on a piece of technology.

    What I mean is that you have bought an IVR in name only. You must ensure that it is easy to use, truly interactive and predictable. The secret to an IVR is not the technology but the call flow, options and ease of navigation; the human factor.

    Check out some well designed systems @ http://www.inveroak.com/

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