Customer Service Can Make or Break Your Business
January 22, 2009
In early January, I left my home (trying to get ahead of a snow storm) to drive to northwest Iowa to celebrate my mother’s 70th birthday. As I traveled north on I-380, I noticed a loud sound in my car’s exhaust system. With a couple of calls, I located a company who could look at my car immediately - Meineke Car Service in Cedar Rapids. Andy greeted me, promptly put my car on the hoist, and then delivered the bad news. I needed an entirely new exhaust system, and they did not have the part in stock. When I explained my plight, Andy drove to pick up the part for my car while owner Mike had his staff prepare my car for the work to be done. While I waited, I had the chance to read some very positive notes from other customers hanging on their wall. Long story short, Andy and Mike completed the work within 45 minutes (they estimated 2 hours!), and I was on my way. The customer service, the work, the atmosphere, and the courtesy shown all made my expensive emergency purchase a pleasant one.
Why do I tell you this story? Because I know that good, old-fashioned, genuine customer service can make or break your day and your business. In our current difficult economic situation, customer service along with price will determine our success. If we have a choice on where to spend our dollars, are we going to choose somewhere that’s pleasant, economical, and efficient with our time and our money? I am and there are many consumers doing the same.
Negative employees can scare off every customer they speak to - often for good. We need to dig a little deeper to see what the underlying causes are for the productivity issues. We believe -- and research supports -- people want to do a good job, but sometimes they simply don’t know how to get themselves out of their particular situation. The answers to employee problems are many times attributed to two issues:
1) Lack of understanding and appreciation. (One solution: Read How Full is Your Bucket)
2) Misplaced or underutilized employee talents. (Another solution: Read StrengthsFinder 2.0)
Investing in ways to improve customer service is worth the cost and time. As the leader of your organization, you set the standards. Create an atmosphere that promotes customer service by paying attention to the most important element of it…your employees.
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