By Rob Dale, Breakthrough Coach
I recently sat down with a business owner to do an evaluation of their five year old company. Like I do with every owner, I asked about their marketing strategies, sales process, staffing issues, and financial management. Eventually, we began looking at customer service.
“We have great customer service. That’s definitely not an area of concern to me.”
I’ve heard it a thousand times from a thousand business owners. Almost without exception, most business owners rank their customer service extremely high. It’s so common, that I now have a standard reply question ready to ask as soon as we start into the topic of customer service: “According to whom?”
Usually the business owner pauses and looks back at me with a blank stare. “Well,” they finally stammer, “our customers seem happy when the sale is complete, and we rarely get complaints. Those who do complain are people who are never happy no matter what we’d do.”
Most business owners assume that they have great customer service because they haven’t heard otherwise. At the end of the transaction, the owner is happy with what they have been able to do for the customer, and so they naturally assume that the customer is equally happy.
When was the last time you asked your customers how happy they are with your business? What if you took the time to find out from your clients how you could make the customer experience even better?
Good – or even great – customer service isn’t enough anymore. Everyone strives for that. If you want to stand out from your competitors, you need to provide exemplary customer service. And that can’t happen without input from your customers.
In his book, The Ultimate Question 2.0, Fred Reichheld suggests that there is one key question that will tell you exactly how great your customer service really is. “One a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to refer me to your friends and family.” Only those who rate you 8 or higher truly believe you provide exemplary customer service.
I encourage you to ask your customers that one question. If they rate you less than an 8, follow up with, “What would it take for you to give us a 9 or 10?” You’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn about your business and what your customers experience.
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com recently wrote, “We believe that customer service shouldn’t be just a department; it should be the entire company.”
Exemplary customer service is a must for those who was to excel in business today. But, it will never happen by chance. It must be strategically thought out. And, it must involve your existing customers.
About the Author: Rob Dale, BreakthoughCoach “I believe in people. In a world of mediocrity, where so many settle for average, I love seeing people breakthrough to their potential.” Every business owner starts out with a dream – a vision of where they what they want to accomplish through their business. Along the way, challenges and obstacles deflate, discourage, and derail many of them. Through a dynamic coaching relationship that provides a plan that is personal to both the owner and their business, I strive to help owners stay the course and realize their business goals.