No one will argue that business persons went into business for their customers. No one will argue that treating those customers well will keep them in business. Business is a give and take kind of thing, but when the taking overshadows the giving, then business suffers. Therefore, it would make sense to ensure the satisfaction of one’s customers. How to do this? Let’s take a look at customer service from the customer’s point of view. Studies show that the psychology of customer service, when practiced, nets a healthy return on the investment.
Studies show that the heart of customer assistance is time, savings and the personal touch. It is an unfortunate reality in our present that numbers are more important than the people who generate them. It is also unfortunate that people know that and react somewhat less than nicely to it. It is therefore incumbent upon the business owner to make sure the person behind the number generator is recognized and celebrated.
- It’s a paradox, to be sure, but giving customers more thorough assistance has been found to be preferable to the fastest in town
- Customers tend to buy more when they associate the product or service with a time in which they enjoyed such an association (It’s Miller Time! or When it Absolutely, Positively Has to be There Overnight)
- Customers irritated with long lines, personnel on the phones or only one person to deal with it all feel unimportant. Subjectively, s/he understands the problems with paying more people for customer service, but time-wise, s/he feels you should put him or her first even if it means paying extra people
Practically no one remembers the days when mentioning money or anything to do with it was considered socially unacceptable. That was one custom, however, that needed to change, because money contributes to quality of life. In customer assistance, saving them money is integral to that quality of life. The business owner concerned with the caliber of his customer service knows this and moves to provide it:
- Getting something free pleases everyone. There’s no need to advertise it, just do it as they say. Perhaps free shipping or upgrade their accounts for the extra benefits would please them
- Loyalty programs or savings or club cards make good customer assistance a snap when they get something a little extra. Punch two places on their cards to get them going or upgrade them to gold or the next level. Customers who know they’ve advanced from a group behind them tend to patronize businesses repeatedly
- About little extras: sending your secretary out for burgers or furnishing cookies or soft drinks or coffee for waiting customers goes a long way toward making them think they’re important to you. While the cost to you will be slight, you’ll be creating a loyal customer
The personal touch is no more difficult for a professional service provider like an engineer or a web designer than it is for a department store or a convenient store. Sometimes your customers will come to you one at a time, but there will be days when perhaps three or four will show up. It helps when you remember their names. A few other personal touches just make good sense:
- Focus on them from the minute they walk in, even if you’re working on someone’s problem presently. After all, you designed their project, so asking a pertinent question for a second or two will make them feel important to you
- Remember things about your customer’s life that might help with customer assistance. For instance, a suggestion for his or her business pertaining to the problem they’re bringing to you might help them in the long run
- If there’s nothing you can do about the customer’s particular problem for whatever reason, suggest an alternative. This leaves your customer feeling important because you dug around for an answer to his/her problem
You are a customer sometimes, too. You, too, have to wait in a line to return something the wrong size or to have something repaired. It might sound simplistic, but make a list of things that bother you and a list of things you like about the customer assistance you have received in various places. When we think from a customer’s point of view, suddenly our own actions and policies seem bigger. Add to your list the qualities you look for in customer assistance, as well as the qualities for which your employees look. Make these qualities your own customer assistance policy and you can’t go wrong.
Learn more about Snappy Customer Support.