Time to outshine your competitors with your customer service

waxed floorCustomers are just tired of dealing with retailers who ignore customer service while pretending to have it. If I see an advertisement that says, “New and Improved Customer Service,” doesn’t that already imply there was something wrong with their original service? If an organization claims to make customer service a priority in their business, shouldn’t they uphold to their claims?

Statistics suggest in most surveys that nearly 45 percent of respondents will abandon a provider to which they at one time were loyal  when a negative experience with staff personnel takes place during a business or service transaction. Another 30 percent of respondents are likely to change providers when they feel they are not appreciated by a staff member. Sheer numbers like this can therefore provide some interesting food for thought.

In my own experience in moving from one home to another and being dependent on a variety of different services and providers, I was both amazed, flabbergasted, or genuinely annoyed at the diverse claims and follow through of customer service providers.

So it seems customers want to be made to feel special because if a business can do that, clients and customers will return, there will be more business, and the current customers will recommend you to their friends, families, and business acquaintances. The key, however is to figure out how to stand apart from one’s competitors and shine in the eyes of the customer.

What makes what one business offers special? The way to find out is to check out the competition. As an example, I decided to install hardwood floors into my new home. In South Florida, the tourist season is over which makes every home improvement and specialty flooring stores advertising special prices.Lower prices are not service; they are just lower prices. There is a wide variety of product as well as a wide variety of prices, but I made my choice based on past customers and their personal experiences with the company. Incidentally the company I hired have been in business in the area for more than 20 years, and when it came to a problem yesterday, I was able to call the manager, and without any hesitation the store was able to rectify the problem. That’s what makes an organization stand out from its competitors – that little aspect of doing business “better” than their competition and their reputation built through years of putting customers first.

In every organization, whether it be a service industry like real estate sales or a flooring business, each owner needs to study the feasibility of always sticking to what they promise. In the real estate profession, lockboxes are common and used often to make it convenient for cooperating realtors to enter homes listed on the Multiple Listing Services in a city. Yet, as a lockbox may be convenient for the Listing Broker of a particular property, except for brochures a prospective buyer may miss a lot of the finer points while touring a home. And so our solution is to accompany all brokers on showings when the homeowner isn’t around to answer questions. Of course, it is more time-consuming, but the results – a more comprehensive showing, a happier home owner, and a lot better chance to sell that listing.

Every business needs to practice and keep coming up with new ideas to improve their customer services. It’s a discriminating world of business out here, and it seems only the strongest survive.

photo credit: yoppy

3 Responses to “Time to outshine your competitors with your customer service”

  1. Joanna Jones said:

    Jun 10, 11 at 7:04 pm

    Great post. In the crowded, highly competitive marketplace of today, customer service is the one of the surest ways that companies can outshine their competitors.
    Typically, companies try to compete through 3 ways:
    1. Product (Lots of R & D—gets expensive!)
    2. Price
    3. Customer service
    If companies spend more time paying attention to their customers and the customer experience, they’ll constantly stay ahead of the curve. An investment in customer service training is one that pays dividends consistently.
    For more information or ideas on customer service training, please visit http://www.impactlearning.com/solutions/training-programs/customer-service/customer-service-training/
    Thanks again for your insightful post.

  2. Eptica said:

    Jun 14, 11 at 6:39 am

    In many cases companies need to make sure they are doing the basics right from the customer perspective. A major study of 100 top UK companies by Eptica found that, on average, they could only answer half of basic questions asked via the web and took over 20 hours to respond to email. More results are available at http://www.eptica.com/Multichannel-Study-Web-Site.html?var_mode=calcul

  3. Virtual Agents said:

    Jun 25, 11 at 6:50 am

    You have a great post, sticking on what they say on their business ad would be a great and would earn them more customers.