**This post contains affiliate links. This means the author may make a small profit if you choose to purchase the items linked**
What comes to mind when you hear “customer service”? Do you picture a teenaged drive thru attendant? Do you recall your first part-time job? Do you shudder at the thought? In all honesty all of these recollections fit into the abstract notion of customer service but it’s important to realize they are not the whole picture.
When you think of your customers, whether you are a barista, an online retailer, or an artist, it’s important to first take yourself out of the equation altogether. Let me say it again just so you really understand; it’s not about you.
You may be the best at making cappuccinos, the top seller in e-commerce, or the most creative painter, but if you are not treating your customer like the be-all and end-all (or at least make them feel like they are) you will fail.
“Preposterous!” you say. “I have X many sales, and X many Likes on Facebook, and X people lining up to get their hands on my stuff”. Alright…I’ll play long; I am very happy that you have found a way to make a living. I just want to be extremely clear when I say this; you can do better. You can and you should.
There is a thing called EQ or emotional quotient, it refers to someone’s emotional intelligence and it matters, a lot. Without EQ you are simply transmitting tangible or intangible products to people who are paying you. There is no soul, no care, no forethought, just business. Business can be good and profitable but it will never please your customers enough in the long run. You may find them trickling out of the funnel to get the next best thing as soon as someone else decides to treat them better. Even marginally better treatment is dangerous because in today’s marketplace both online and in person, we can see how great service is beating out efficiency.
Think about it for a minute and I bet you can come up with at least 10 first-hand accounts of terrible service being perpetrated by businesses you frequent. The worst part is we often KEEP returning to them because we have grown so used to just dealing with it. We accept terrible customer service because it has become the status quo. Imagine how thrilled your customers would be if instead of automated replies, terrible website landing pages, excuses and attitude, they received quick feedback, candor, kindness, and perks.
Turning things around is simple and often doesn’t even cut into your budget. You can take a few minutes to make one gesture every few months that will shock (in a good way!) and enthrall your customers who then become so smitten with you that they decide to become brand ambassadors. Without even being asked they will shout from the rooftops, post on social media, and tell their friends all about how much you rock. They will become your most cherished and valuable asset and that will mean amazing things for your business.
Why customer service matters:
If you need a fresh new perspective, take a step back and check out the book “Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans” by Peter Shankman. It’s a light and quick read but it serves as a much needed reset for our current collective outlook. It is so easy and simple to treat your customer right, to engage them in a way that makes them feel special, important, and valued simultaneously.
Another proponent of great customer service is Gary Vaynerchuk. He knows that today’s customer is well informed. As a driven businessman he has grown businesses into multi-million dollar companies but the thing that makes him unique is his sheer no BS approach to BEING and DOING.
This approach works for customer service but it can be applied to so many other areas of your life.
By being; kind, attentive, communicative, supportive, creative, present, etc. you are bringing value to others and to your daily activities. By doing; the research, hard work, digging, reading, cold calls, what you don’t always feel like, etc you are creating the business and the atmosphere you need to thrive.
It’s easy to put something as simple and mundane as customer service on the back burner, but it’s only when we reframe and rethink something that we can improve upon it. Take the challenge and rethink how you view customer service and I bet you will see some major improvements. It should not be a chore, so don’t treat it like one. Your customers will know.
Written by: Christelle Roy
You can find Christelle on Twitter: @roy_christelle