Unhappy customers can ruin a business
The Queensland Goverment’s Business portal promotes customer service as one of the keys to building your business effectively.
In February, Westender published a piece titled Customer Service is still King, singing the praises of the West End KwikKopy who had gone the extra mile and won our business loyalty.
Business.Qld.Gov.au provides a range of tips on their customer service site. The summary is provided below.
Customer service is about giving customers what they want, when they want it, in the best possible way. If your business provides good customer service, you have a greater chance of keeping and increasing your customer base.
Research indicates that it costs up to 10 times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep an existing customer.
Good customer service can help your business grow by increasing:
- customer numbers through favourable word-of-mouth advertising
- the dollar amount spent per customer per transaction
- the frequency of customer visits.
You can establish a culture of excellent customer service in your business by planning, developing and sustaining a customer service program. Train your staff to give your customers the highest level of service.
I always recommend to other business owners that they go as far as using the ISO9001 approach, even if you are not required or planning to be certified as a quality assured business. The thing is that if you do not formalise your process for dealing with customer (and other stakeholder) complaints, you are unlikely to improve.
When the time is write, Westender will publish some of the horror stories that local businesses could have avoided by paying better attention to customer service. The best time will probably be after those companies have folded, because bad news always travels faster than good news and so anyone with a reputation for poor customer service is not going to last long.
One very important thing to remember, however, is that this does not mean that the customer is always right.
What it does mean is that you have to make sure that you are listening to your customers and responding to what they are actually saying rather than simply trying to avoid them and the challenges they can represent.
To find out more about the ISO9001 customer service standard have a look at the official website of the International Standards Organisation. There is nothing like getting it from the source.
There are also many local consultants specialising in the area, and the general advice available from services like Bsuiness Queensland or your local chamber of commerce or the CCIQ.