Good Customer Service Is No Longer Enough
Your business would not exist without customers. And if you have customers, you have to have customer service. Everybody talks about the importance of good customer service, but few seem to follow through on it.
Recently, I had the opportunity to ask a few questions of communications expert and author Dianna Booher, CSP. I found out why she says, "Good customer service is no longer enough."
Dianna Booher is president of Booher Consultants, Inc., international communications training and consulting firm in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. Her firm offers communication workshops and speeches in business and technical writing, proposal writing, customer service communications, interpersonal skills, resolving conflict, and more. For the full list of offerings, and more information about the firm, visit their web site at www.booherconsultants.com
- jr: Why is customer service so important to a successful business?
db: Customers have more options than ever before-and feel less loyalty. They want products and services fast, cheap, quick-from whoever will provide them. That means that the competitive advantage is now in your ability to KEEP customers and build repeat business. And the email mindset makes it even easier for customers to spread out their dissatisfaction. Make Customer Jones angry and chances are you've got a nasty rumor going around to ten of his colleagues that you're a lousy firm to do business with.
jr: What's your definition of good customer service?
db: Good customer service is no longer enough. It has to be superior, WOW, unexpected service. In a nutshell, it means doing what you say you will, when you say you will, how you say you will, at the price you promised-plus a little extra tossed in to say "I appreciate your business."
jr: How do you quantify it and measure it?
db: There are as many ways as there are businesses. You can use several criteria as your scorecard-decrease in written customer complaints, decrease in oral complaints, more referrals generated from your current customers, increase in the repeat business of your current customers, faster response time/turnaround time on orders, increased productivity and less rework on customer projects. There are many, many options. Part of our customer service consulting and training is to lead clients to determine how they personally want to evaluate. Evaluation costs time and money, but it's well worth it to see how you score.
jr: Is good customer service different on the Internet?
db: The primary difference is that you have difficulty in building rapport with customers because there are fewer occasions of real-time interaction. A second difference is that customers seem to be more fickle and hostile because they can chose to remain anonymous. They're in; they're out; they move on without a second thought. First impressions about how user-friendly your site is, for example, get translated to how user-friendly your products and services are in general.