The Importance of Good Customer Service
"The customer is always right" is a famous business slogan. The underlying truth behind this statement is recognizing that customers are the life blood for any business. Understanding the importance of good customer service is essential for a healthy business in creating new customers, keeping loyal customers, and developing referrals for future customers.
Excellent customer service begins at the initial greeting, whether that's in person, on the phone, or via email. In all of these situations, using good people skills will increase the chances for a positive first impression. For example, saying hello with a smile to a customer who just walked in the door will invite that person in and make them feel welcome. On the other hand, when an employee doesn't acknowledge the client, or makes them feel like an inconvenience, that customer immediately feels slighted. That negative feeling doesn't get the customer in a buying mood, and it will most likely turn them away from ever coming back to that particular store.
If the employee is utilizing good customer service on the phone, the initial greeting will be courteous. Again, this makes the client feel comfortable. In turn, the customer will appreciate the pleasant greeting and usually be more agreeable on the other end of the phone. This is a much better situation for the client instead of leaving messages on answering machines, never getting any returned phone calls, or trying to extract some product information from an uncaring employee.
Of course, good customer service goes beyond the initial contact. When helping customers choose the right product or service or answer their questions, assisting them with their needs is a great example of going the extra mile. This kind of service establishes good will, and it'll eventually lead to loyal customers. Even if that person doesn't purchase anything at that time, the good shopping experience will bring the customer back again.
Think about how you've been treated whenever you're the customer. If you've ever had a bad experience with a company, you know that it's not easy to forget the encounter. Perhaps a clerk was too busy stocking shelves to help you pay for your items. Maybe there wasn't anyone around to answer your questions or help you with some additional information. You might have had to deal with an employee that won't help you because of some company rule. In any of these instances, the managers or the owner of the store usually aren't notified of the poor customer service. Instead, the people that do hear about the negative experience are many of the customer's family and friends. Especially with social networking, word travels very fast when it comes to communicating negative experiences to the world.
When dealing with clients, sometimes there are situations that need to be resolved. If the customer is upset about a product or service they've received from the company, the first thing an employee should do is to listen. By taking the time to hear through the entire complaint, the customer feels that you care. Occasionally, the issue is actually not related to your company at all, but the initial problem is merely a catalyst for that person's frustration about other things. Either way, attentive listening will break down that barrier and begin to build a bridge to fix the situation. Usually, discussing different options will then bring about a positive outcome for both sides.
Good customer service leads to many benefits. Not only will you gain trust with your current clients, they'll also become a wonderful referral system as they spread the word about your business to other prospects. Especially with any internet business transactions, product reviews are quite common. Whether it's positive or negative feedback about a product or service, people are writing freely about their shopping experiences. In the long run, treating people fairly and with respect will bring business to your company today and in the future.