Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Customer service has become a catch-phrase in the 21st century business environment, and its importance is usually assumed without much discussion. A company’s customer service involves the maintenance of a good relationship with its customers, a satisfactory approach for dealing with complaints and the attitude of its staff towards the public.
Customer service is important, and here are some of the reasons why:
- Positive customer experiences can generate a lot of word-of-mouth marketing for a company which, firstly, is marketing for which it does not have to pay and, secondly, has the potential to bring in many new customers. There is a catch, however. Research has found that people tend to talk a lot more about negative than positive experiences. This means that negative customer experiences are more likely to generate comment than positive experiences. For this reason, a company can generate good word of mouth marketing only if the positive customer experiences outnumber the negative ones.
- It can help companies hold onto existing customers. A company’s customer service includes not only the friendliness of its support staff, but also the provision of benefits to its loyal customers. In fact, if a business rewards loyal customers for the service and thereby manages to hold onto them, other businesses in the same field are already at a disadvantage.
- Statistics obtained from research shows that customers are much more likely to leave a service provider because of poor customer service than due to the discovery of a lower price elsewhere. This is because good customer service becomes part of the image of a product or service. This is useful especially to smaller businesses than can often not compete with the prices charged by their larger counterparts.
- Providing good customer service means there will be fewer complaints, and since complaints function as a drain on a company’s time and resources, it should be kept to the minimum.
- Good customer service can boost the morale of a company’s staff, because dealing with happy customers is much more pleasant than being yelled at or being charged with listening to lists of grievances. Moreover, it gives employees the feeling that they’re spreading happiness and satisfaction, and that they thereby provide more than just products or services. Together with being a morale booster, excellent service is thus also self-perpetuating.
- Since customer service also includes the way in which the company deals with complaints, a company that trains its employees to listen and respond to complaints will have a better understanding of its customers’ needs and will thus be in a superior position to adjust its service accordingly. As a result, it will be in a better position to continue to provide good products and services.
Companies that provide excellent customer service are, thus, likely to have a huge competitive advantage over those that fail to do so.