There sure is a thrill that comes along with acquiring new customers. After all, it is an untapped resource full of new relationships, unpredictable variables, and promising rewards. It’s an unchartered destiny full of hope and glory. Inevitably, new businesses go after new customers like they’re chasing the most valuable resource on the planet. As these new businesses grow and evolve, however, they begin to realize that customer retention is actually far more valuable than exciting pursuit of the unknown. The biggest reason is that it is much easier to keep selling to customers you already have. Another darned good reason is that establishing a loyal customer base can give you profits for the long haul, supplying your business with sustainability. Whereas, new customers may just be a one-shot sale that you can’t count on for future returns. Building upon the realization that customer retention is crucial to long standing success, providing elite levels of customer service becomes a must have skill in your organizational toolbox because that is undoubtedly the best way to achieve a high rate of repeat business from your customer base.
One of the most overlooked aspects of customer service is understanding the silent killer, which is word of mouth. Yes, word of mouth is the silent killer because it’s impossible to quantify what it’s doing to your sales. People love to complain about poor service because it makes for good conversation and they can get a little satisfaction out of knowing they turned additional profits away from a bad experience.
Certainly, you still need to worry about online sites like Yelp and other review sites because they can spread the bad experience word quicker than anything else. But, at least you can see those effects by doing a quick online analysis and you can often take steps to reestablish your online reputation. Word of mouth, however, could be out there absolutely killing your business with no paper trail at all.
The first thing you can do prevent the silent killer from taking over is treat every customer with respect. Let’s fact it, nobody waits in a customer service queue just to say, “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that you’re doing a heck of a job! Keep up the good work.” No, unfortunately that doesn’t happen. People wait in lines and on hold because they have a complaint or a need that must be addressed. Your first instinct can often be to look at these people as a pain and someone who is impeding your road to success. Of course you need to turn that frown upside down and extinguish that feeling. Treat people with respect even if they don’t reciprocate.
Displaying a respectful and professional attitude will go a long way into calming that person down if they are there with a complaint and may be a little angry about it. The next thing you need to do is figure out how to give them exactly what they want. It’s shocking how many organizations still feel the need to stick to a hard stance on policy and show no flexibility whatsoever in customer service. Understand the fact that this customer may be able to provide you with 20, 30 years of more of purchasing power before you elect to take a hard line on refusing their request. Ask yourself what’s more important, sticking to policy at the risk of losing a good customer or maybe taking a hit for one transaction, even if the customer is wrong, in order to save a hundred or more future transactions?
In conclusion, by treating your customers with common sense respect and taking every possible action to make them happy, you will achieve elite levels of customer service. This will turn word of mouth from silent killer to silent partner for your business, and you will sustain longevity and enhanced profitability for your efforts.
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