Smart Thinking … A Different Perspective
By Leslie R. Wolff, A Marketing Curmudgeon
In my 40+ years of lecturing on marketing I always ask my audiences … “How many really great customer services experiences have you had in the last year?” It is rare that anyone thinks they’ve had at least 3. Strange considering tens of million$ are spent in the area of Cu$tomer $ervice, why do you think the ROI is so poor?
In fact many marketing departments don’t even consider the role of customer service as a key element of their overall marketing strategy. If we look at the results nationwide survey after survey you get the impression many marketers neglect this totally. Is that the fault of the CMO, CEO, COO, CFO or all of them as a non thinking management unit when it comes to understanding the customer’s needs and perspective as to what they expect and what they get.
As a consumer you are aware of this, but how do your customers rate your customer service? Probably not too good unless you are one of the rare exceptions statistically, the odds are against you, but do you really know?
“Do not hesitate to go the extra mile as you will rarely find it crowded.”
How do you define Customer Service? Obviously, it has to do with fulfilling needs of the customer. The key to excellence is constantly striving to exceed those expectations. Here are a few smart moves a company of any size can do that will enhance their customer service:
- Create a customer friendly environment where their concerns can easily be identified and quickly responded to.
- Have a reward/incentive program established for employees where they can not only proposed constructive ideas, but can feel comfortable to reports “bad news” and not fear retribution because management has a “Kill the Messenger” mentality,
- Create Customer Service Council in which vendors are encouraged to participate. They benefit from your growth that will come with an exceptional customer service environment.
Highest Quality Standards
- Whether your company makes manufactured goods, provides services, or has a retail operation, you want to ensure every aspect of your business is on board the “Superior Quality” bandwagon.
Develop a Reputation for Integrity
- It will raise you above the commodity-congested marketplace. How will this help? Maybe give an example
“If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.”
Communicate from the Customer’s Perspective
- The most effective communication is that based on the WIIFM Factor (What’s in it for me?)
Understand the Power of the Internet
- Think about the how the power of the Internet has given to the consumer to express dissatisfaction to0day. The impact of viral communication can be dramatic in hurting (or helping) a company’s bottom line.
- Positive Spin on Internet use
“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” – Jeff Bezos
A few Smart Thoughts on Customer Service for your consideration and hopefully inspire and motivate you to be among the smartest marketers in your field. …
“Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it.
“It is what the client or customer gets out of it.” – Peter Drucker
“Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game. Service wins the game.” – Tony Alessandra
“Well done is better than well said.” – Benjamin Franklin
“Although your customers won’t love you if you give bad service, your competitors will.” – Kate Zambriskie
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Les is CEO of Philadelphia based Smart Marketing Group a creative strategy firm focused on showing clients on how to outthink, not outspend their competition. Smart Marketing … for Small Business is based on his 50 years of experience, expertise in the marketplace. (www.smartmarketinggroup.com) E-mail him your question at smartmarketing4U@aol.com.