It’s sad, but most businesses need to overhaul their customer service department. Does your company get overloaded with repeat business? Are you moving into international/global markets? Are you growing so fast you’re having trouble putting new distribution protocols in place? If not, maybe your customer service needs some work.
Getting Repeat Business
Better customer service can make a huge impact on future business. Unfortunately, this is missed by most companies who are content focusing all their energies on getting customers off the phone. It’s become almost commonplace for the customer service department to disclaim any responsibility for anything that’s gone wrong with the customer’s order – instead, blaming the customer first and then back-peddling if there’s any proof to the contrary.
In a sense, many companies assume their clients are guilty until proven innocent. It’s insane. But it’s a cheap way to conduct business. When you operate like this, you don’t have the high cost of customer satisfaction. Some customers are unreasonable. Most are reasonable, but they are demanding. They expect to get at least what they paid for, usually more.
But when you nail customer service, something magical happens. You end up with repeat business that you can’t control. This is part of the secret behind how Amazon, Apple, and other famous brands are able to get away with missteps in product releases.
Zappos, the famous shoe company, is probably better-known for it’s immaculate customer service experience than it is for its shoes. Take a hint. Overhaul your customer service department, and reap the rewards.
Companies like ISOStainless.com have long known that international trade pays off. By hunkering down in U.S. markets, you expose yourself to the business cycles inherent in the financial system. It’s no secret that the Federal Reserve controls interest rates. That, in turn, controls business cycles.
Sure, every country has a central bank, but not all countries move in step with the U.S. that means you have an amazing potential for consistent, year-over-year growth without the usual “lulls” in business common with mono-national marketing. Bu what you might not know is that poor customer service keeps you tied to the U.S. How? Because it hobbles you. You’re constantly playing “catch up” with your marketplace, trying to fix your company’s image. You have nothing to build on when your customer service is 3rd-rate.
Once you’ve fixed it, you get to branch out and build off of your good name at home. You get to tell your story to different cultures, spread your company’s unique ideas, and gain market share in countries where your competitors don’t yet exist – all good things for your company’s bottom line.
Exposure To New Markets
Customer service can also expose you to new markets. Consider the car rental company Enterprise. It used to be that all rental agencies focused on travellers. But in 1962, Jack Taylor (the founder of the company) kept getting inundated with requests for a “loaner” while a customer’s vehicle was in the shop being repaired. This gave Taylor an idea – spread service to local customers and fill in a gap in the marketplace. It worked. Customer service reps started telling existing clients about local service. An entirely new market was created. Odds are, there’s room for you to do the same thing in your inustry too.
Tom Grant is a customer service agent. He frequently writes about how to achieve better customer service by writing for small business blogs.