Recently I read an article about customer service standards by Michele McGovern regarding standards of customer service in various companies. The theory is that companies should have and enforce standards within their operations which promote great customer service. These standards may be what we should all expect or may be ones which address the little things that enhance the customer experience. Customers may never have thought of some standards, but they should find them all rewarding.
As business people we should all examine our operations and install a culture of standards that make our customers’ experience when dealing with our businesses more pleasant and rewarding. Someone may buy a widget from us at a great price that lasts forever, never needing replacement. What do we care about them after the purchase from us? They may never need another widget, but do they know someone who would also like to have one of our widgets?
What does that customer say about the buying experience that they “enjoyed” with us? Did we make it easy to purchase from us; did we may the experience fun and something that they would not shy away from in the future? What will they say to someone else who asks them how it was to buy from us? Will they offer favorable comments, or will they tell everyone to never, ever do business with us?
We all want to expand our customer base, but we must also expand our client base. We have discussed the difference between customers and clients before. A customer may make a purchase once from us, but a client should be ours for life. That client should be our objective; they should be that partner in business, that networking relationship which can make our business successful.
If a customer buys something from us that they may never need to replace, we should not write them off in our minds as lost. We must understand that they may know others who need whatever we offer. However, what does that customer say about the experience that they had when buying from us? Their experience should make them our marketing consultants, telling everyone that they will also enjoy their own buying experience.
Do we maintain standards that make us businesses with which others want to engage in buying from us? Do we deliver the same product in the same manner every time someone buys from us? Do we make that experience pleasurable? Do we even ask our customers how their experience was? Do our employees know our standards even if they are involved in all of them? Do they support our maintaining these standards? Do our standards cover everything from the initial prospect contact to recovery from business mistakes? Are they just for disciplining our employees?