“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.”
– Jim Rohn
Savvy business people understand the role excellent customer service plays in the success of their business. They understand that winning customers and building loyalty doesn’t happen overnight and that building strong customer relationships requires a consistent and ongoing team effort to retain their customer’s hard won loyalty.
They know that while pricing is important, loyalty earned through delivering on promises and taking care of customers will often win the sale and keep the customer, even where pricing may be a bit higher.
Savvy business people also understand how fragile customer relationships are and how easily hard won loyalty can be lost through poor customer service and issues not quickly resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.
Most customers understand an occasional misstep or problem that is handled quickly and with care. What they usually won’t tolerate are neglect, rudeness, not delivering on promises, unnecessary bureaucracy and inconsistency, to name a few. This is especially true when other competitors are eager and hungry for their business.
The importance of consistency in building strong customers relationships can't be overemphasized! Customers want to have confidence that we’ll deliver on our promises every time, and not just when it’s convenient.
In fact, . . .
... then the potential for our organization to not only grow but reach extraordinary heights is real. It won’t guarantee success but it will lay the foundation for us to achieve more and it will usually separate us from our competitors.
Companies like McDonald’s and Starbucks weren’t always big guys. They started out small and grew. And their growth was laid on a foundation of consistency in their market, in terms of the quality of their products and their service. When consumers choose them over an unknown competitor they usually do so because their brand has a reputation for consistency in the products and service they provide.
Unfortunately, seriously great service coupled with a great product seems to be rare. It often seems that in the decision making stage we woo customers with pleasant service and fast turnaround, but once they sign up for the service it’s a whole new experience.
I saw this firsthand recently when a customer bought a service that looked and sounded great, on the surface. The service promotes itself saying its “easy to use functionality and user interface will leave you wanting more!” But after buying the product, it became obvious that trying to get a response from the support department would take days, and that’s if they responded at all. And the supposedly “easy to use functionality” was an empty promise.
Can you guess how the customer might feel about this company now? Is the company building a strong customer relationship? I don't think so!
For some businesses, it almost seems that they’ll say pretty much anything to get the business and do pretty much nothing to keep it.
When customers make a decision to do business with us, will they discover that we’ve underpromised on what we will deliver? This is the type of experience that people hope for and the type they talk about and share with others, with positive results for our business. Of course, they’ll talk and share if we don’t do this too, but the results won’t be so positive.
And with the growing prominence of social media, managing our reputation online and offline is more important today than it has ever been. And negative feedback is something we don’t need.
Once the customer has decided to do business with us, once they’ve paid for the product or service, what follows will set us apart from the pack. It will differentiate us in a good way or a not so good way. Those of us running any size of successful business know firsthand that building customer loyalty isn’t an overnight effort. It’s an ongoing and consistent strategy and practice that can make the difference between success and failure. And consistency plays a critical role!
There are many factors that impact how consumers feel about us. Consistency in every area of our business, and in particular how we deal with customers and staff, and in the quality of our products, services and staff is one of, and possibly THE, most important.
This post has been updated and rewritten. It appears in its original form on Nimble.com.