Customer Service: a “Competitive Advantage?”
Is making customer service a “Competitive Advantage” really the reason to value it?
Isn’t it kind of like claiming your humility, humbly? A business’ “success” is valued in terms of ROI, cost effectiveness, or bottom line. But, how do you prove that customer service plays a role in that success? How do you know the people that claim it actually have it? Is it even an “it?” Is customer service a commodity, or a concept? In my years, I’ve come to believe it’s a mentality. Customer service is a subconscious behavior that manifests itself in people that do what they love and genuinely do it for the right reasons. Why is that? You can handle any situation by placing principles before personalities.
Relationships are the key to the existence and success of any business. Talk to a small business owner and you’ll find a common theme that is not about ROI or metrics, it’s about the relationships and the referrals that came from those relationships. Customer service starts “at home” inside your business with constant discussions. The key is to over-communicate: don’t just send an email; call. Ask “how can I help,” before someone has to ask for help. It’s your best shot to avoid the potential for an embarrassing moment for you and your company.
Considering how you would want to be treated is, essentially, all customer service is. One of the most positive ways to provide excellent customer service is to have a conversation. Conversations regarding your product or service should always begin with knowing your product or service and being able to explain the fine details. Most of the time, when a client is frustrated, it’s due to a lack of communication. Being patient and engaging in effective communication can turn a negative situation into a positive experience—for both parties.
Digital Customer Service
Why can’t they just invent an app for that? Wait a second—they have and lots of them.
Today, we have greater ability to provide impeccable customer service employing analog principles in a digital world. I know, crazy. Just think about the potential of social media alone and the power it has to make or break a brand. Take a look at Christopher Heine’s article on Adweek.com and you’ll see the power of attentive brands.
Customer service isn’t a core value, either. And, having a list of core values doesn’t guarantee customer service—being thoughtful does. Is it “Old School” to care enough to write a hand-written note and mail it? Is it patronizing to send a little gift to a client on an anniversary or birthday? No, but it sure is rare. So, slow down. Take a deep breath. Think about how you would like to be treated. You might find you don’t have to learn customer service at all.