Many businesses have lost sight of the most important component of every business: the customer. Entrepreneurs must realise that everything in the businesseven the business itselfdepends on creating a satisfied customer. The rewards for providing excellent customer service are great, and the penalties for failing to do so are severe.
Lost sales are only the beginning of a companys woes. Unsatisfied customers are likely to tell their poor experience to family members and friends. This negative word of mouth has a detrimental effect on the offending company. These disgruntled customers exact revenge over their poor treatment, however. These days, a company that provides poor service may find itself being panned on Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, YouTube, or a blog.
Smart companies are rediscovering that unexpected, innovative, customized service can be a powerful marketing weapon. Perhaps the most effective marketing tool is satisfied customers who become passionate brand evangelists for a company. Providing incomparable service is one of the most effective ways to attract and maintain a growing customer base. Successful businesses recognize that superior customer service is only an intermediate step toward the goal of customer satisfaction.
The best companies seek to go beyond customer satisfaction, striving for customer astonishment. Smart entrepreneurs create reasonable expectations among their customers and then exceed them, knowing that those customers will generate positive buzz for the companies, which is more valuable and more effective than the most expensive advertising campaign.
Certainly the least expensiveand the most effectiveway to achieve customer satisfaction is through friendly, personal service. Numerous surveys of customers in a wide diversity of industriesfrom manufacturing and services to banking and high techconclude that the most important element of service is the personal touch. Calling customers by name; making attentive, friendly contact; and truly caring about their needs and wants is much more essential than any other factoreven convenience, quality, and speed! In our society, business transactions have become so automated that the typical customer is starved for personal attention. Genuine customer service requires that a business bridge that service gap, treat each customer as an individual, and transform high-tech applications into a high-touch attitude.