How consistent are you at delivering great service to your customers? Because that’s what your customers want: consistent delivery.
Customer service is so easy to get right and so easy to get wrong. Just one blip could be all it takes for your hard work to win that customer to go up in smoke.
As a business coach I get to see the danger signs within a business when there’s too much plate spinning, poor communication and disengaged team members that suggest a business is going to lose customers.
And as a consumer of products and services, I get to experience bad customer service at first hand every day. I am that customer that will never go back. On the other hand, I am also that customer who will post a 5 star review and share my great experience with others, recommending your services. All customers want is consistent delivery. We want what the supplier promises us. We don’t want erratic brilliance – when one time our experience is superb beyond belief and then the next time it beggars belief!
Knowing the value of your customer to your business success
Winning new customers is the most expensive part of your marketing activities. It’s five or six times easier and cheaper to sell to existing clients than it is to go out and get more. We need to make sure we have processes in place to keep our customers so happy that they want to stay with us – forever. When you know the life time value of your customers to your business this will help put this into perspective and focus your mind on ensuring you deliver on your promises.
What is the life time value of your customers? Why not work it out if you don’t already know? For example, if you have a hairdressing business, how much does your typical customer spend on one visit to your salon? How many times a year does he or she buy from you? Multiply that figure by the number of years they could be coming to you. That’s a significant figure! And how many other customers are they sending your way by way of referrals they make to friends and family?
Then allow your eyes to water when you realise how much revenue and profit you could lose in an instant if you lose that customer through poor service.
5 reasons you could be losing your customers
If we assume that you’re seriously good at what you do as a business, how could your delivery do anything less than impress your customers? Here are 5 reasons:
- Too many hats
When it’s just you in your business, you’re in charge of all your company departments: sales & marketing, operations (delivery), finance and admin. As the demands on your operations department grow as you take on more and more customers, you’ll be spinning more and more plates and the chances are that you’ll drop one … or more. You’ll miss phone calls, forget to do something or send the wrong order to the wrong person. The list is potentially endless.
- Business growing too quickly
If your business is selling a product and you rely on other suppliers to deliver components of that product, would you be able to deliver consistently if demand for your product suddenly spiked? Sometimes a business will grow so quickly it goes bust: it doesn’t have the cashflow to be able to buy in raw materials to manufacture the end product, or it has to let down customers by not being able to fulfil their demands because it relies on other suppliers in the chain to deliver their part of the product.
- Teams not trained
Systems run a business and your team run your systems. Before you start to recruit people to help you in your business, you’ll need to document your way of doing things so that you can train your people to continue delivering consistently. Many business owners fail to do this adequately or at all. And it can become a vicious circle. If you don’t train your people, they won’t do it to your standard and so you’ll end up doing it yourself and be fearful of delegating. If you don’t learn to delegate, you condemn yourself to being IN the business forever.
I once worked with a business owner who had been in business 20 years. He had an apparently successful business but had not felt able to take a holiday for more than one week at a time in all those years. He told me he was “running around like a headless chicken”. He had a team all waiting to help him but every time he wanted something done, he had to tell them what to do. Nothing had been documented and systemised. No wonder he didn’t dare go away for too long – he couldn’t tell them what to do while he was absent and worried what would happen to his business while he was away.
- Disengaged people
Assuming you’ve trained your people in following the customer experience you’ve designed, you need to ensure your people remain highly engaged with your business so that they continue to deliver to your hard won customers to the same consistent standards day in and day out over and over again.
Your team members have to have bought into your company vision, mission and culture. Otherwise, they’re just there to collect their pay and will answer the phone (or carry out any other activity) depending on the mood they’ve brought into the workplace that day. So you need to learn and hone your leadership and people management skills to ensure you grow a highly engaged workforce.
Communication is crucial in all aspects of our business: winning new business, retaining existing customers, recruiting, retaining and building highly engaged employees. It’s the most important skill in business and starts way before you take on a new customer (through great marketing communication), is vital at the point of the first sale to a new customers as you set expectations and receive their feedback, and then continues long after the first sale as you continue to nurture relationships with customers and keep your team inspired to continue delivering great customer service.
So get great at communication and make sure your team do the same. Remember that true communication is the response you get. If your customers don’t come back for more of your product or service, then that is their response to the quality of your communication; if they do, then that is also their response. Similarly, with your team: if they deliver great service to your customers, that is their response to your communication to them.
If you’d like to learn more about growing your business through consistent customer service, communication and sales and marketing, just get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, book yourself a place at our next business success event,