Many small business owners, including medium and large businesses tend to forget very easily that the only reason they are in business is to serve their customers extremely well. This is a fundamental requirement that every business executive must constantly bear in mind.
The old maxim that “Customer is King” is as valid in business as though it was propounded yesterday and can be interpreted to mean that the quality of excellent service you constantly deliver to your customers will determine whether you’ll remain business or not.
Having established my own businesses from ground floor up and helped other successful small business owners and chief executives of medium and large companies to grow their organizations, I have experienced that it takes hard work and consistent effort to build a successful business as it takes determination and “the extra mile” to maintain a sustainable profitable growth.
But there are very simple things you can do to improve your customer service skills and therefore your customer service quality. With advent of the Internet, smartphones, and other electronic gadgets, customers have become very sophisticated, choosy, and more enlightened than before and your ability to constantly meet and exceed their needs will always put you ahead of your competition.
In every business irrespective of sector, size or geographical location, there are three key customer service satisfaction skills that will kill or save an organization. These can be grouped into:
1. Develop Extreme Quality Service Focus
Think about this, what are the factors that make a loyal customer to walk or derive constantly past other companies in similar business to buy from you? The answer is – Great Customer Service!
If you have superior customer service, you’re in business even if your prices are slightly higher than your competitors, as long as your customers find you friendly, knowledgeable of your products and services, and responding quickly to their needs. For small businesses, it is always a bonus if you know your key customers and call them by their names.
2. Own the Voice of the Customer (VOC)
Earlier in this article, I mentioned that, “Customer is King.” Very many Kings have similar characteristics; they love it when their constituents listen to, and respect them. This is also the case in business. If you believe that your “customer is king,” it means that you should pay attention to him/her.
Owning your customer’s voice is synonymous with listening to them and understanding their needs. Inside and outside your office/shop, you need to engage with them either by email, telephone, or social media to know what you’re doing that they like. Get them to give you their personal honest opinions about you, your business, your employees could potentially make them take their patronage to your competitors, then tailor your service to meet their needs based on the feedback you receive from them.
Often in my work with my clients, it’s fun when we engage with customers in forums and listen to them talk to us about their expectations, and what should be done to keep them. It is at moments like these that great organizations are built.
3. Recognize Your Moments of Truth
In every business organization irrespective of how big or small it may be, there are a number of things you cannot afford to take for granted. These can be referred to as “moments of truth.” They are the key things you must do flawlessly right in your business as seen by your customer.
Take for example in a restaurant or food business, key moments of truth can be cleanness, good food quality, and reasonable pricing. Within professional services, customers would expect extreme responsiveness, deep knowledge about key services or financial products, knowing the customer by name, and good pricing. For majority of other businesses, friendly service, extreme customer focus, and fantastic price may form the moments of truth.
If you maintain an office space that has toilets, make it one of your primary responsibilities to ensure that your bathroom/toilet is insanely clean. As a matter of fact, it should be cleaner than the one in your home. Why? No serious customer will cope with a dirty toilet, and it leaves a lasting impression about you in his or her mind many days after they have left you. And if you’re running a food or restaurant business, this is a Must Do for you!
Although most customers want the best product or service at the cheapest price, research has shown that when you own the voice of the customer by implementing the customer service strategies above, majority of them will reciprocate your good gesture with loyalty. Isn’t that what you need to grow a successful business?
Winning a customer is a strategic business objective you must pursue daily and retaining or keeping them is by far the most important customer service satisfaction strategy to adopt, because that’s what helps you build walls of defense around them to stay with you.
Nkem Mpamah is CEO and Founder of Cognition Global Concepts, the Business and Leadership Development experts in Cambridge.
Nkem helps business owners and executives optimize performance, double productivity, and increase profit margins by delivering customized business growth coaching and other interventionist tools that create extra-ordinary results.
He is author of “The ART of Achievement and Fulfillment.” Nkem offers Free Customer Service Satisfaction Coaching Strategy Session for organizations that want to exceed their customer service expectation.