We’ve all heard stories of businesses offering poor customer service: promises made and broken, being unable to get someone to answer the phone when you have a query…or even worse, those automated answering services, press one for….You just want to talk to someone NOW!
Let’s be honest, Customer Service in the Promotional Merchandise Industry is notoriously poor in our industry. Time and time again, businesses get a poor deal and are let down. For me, it’s simply not good enough and customers deserve more; they deserve a great experience.
But what does that mean? What makes customer service great?
The 3 C’s of Customer Service
Good customer service is really not that hard – it’s common sense…which is why it’s even more frustrating that so many in the promotional merchandise industry get it so wrong.
Customers want to know what’s going on and what to expect at every stage of their journey. That means keeping communication lines open.
So many businesses start of eagerly responding to their leads but then fail to keep it going. Consistency is key. It’s pointless responding within an hour when someone has a sales enquiry and then not bothering to respond to their queries once an order has been placed.
If you’re busy and turnaround time is 24 hours – that’s fine. Let customers know and keep that consistent.
The trouble is, the level of service often reduces as customers move further through the buying process. They’re then left feeling like the business only cares about getting their money. For us, our customers’ experience is important at every stage of their journey, from first meeting us to our after sales.
They should feel valued. Sadly, when others take a more cavalier approach, it gives the entire industry a bad name and customers are instead left feeling skeptical and unsure whether anyone in the industry actually cares.
The truth is, good customer service simply needs the three Cs – communication, consistency and consideration and there’s really no excuse for not providing them.
Well, let’s put aside our moral obligation for a moment and consider why excellent customer service is good for business.
Today, we live in a fast-paced society with much of it lived out online on a global scale. In other words, bad word spreads quickly. A customer who has received a poor service can quickly post an online review and your reputation is the damaged.
Most people will research online before deciding to go ahead with any order and if they come across those poor reviews, they’re unlikely to become a customer.
If they do get as far as placing an order, providing a great service is important to retaining that customer. You may think that it takes too much time or money and your profit margins are already tight. But, it usually costs significantly more to gain a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.
Finally, customer service is increasingly being seen as more important than providing the very best product. Remember, we’re selling more than a product – we’re selling an entire experience and every element of that matters.
We decided early on in our business that we wanted to make our customer’s experience a priority. We don’t want to just serve as many customers as possible; we want our customers to return to us knowing that we delivered a great service and that we cared.
Over to you…
What does customer service mean to you? Is there something in particular that’s important? Do you agree or disagree with anything in this blog post?
We’d love to hear your views as we’re always seeking to improve. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Tags: Customer service