Why does customer service matter?
An August American Express survey showed the average American is shaking off the recession, it also found that 70 percent of consumers are willing to spend an average of 13 percent more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service. This figure is up substantially from 2010, when 58 percent of consumers said they would spend an average of 9 percent more with companies that deliver great service.
A Standard & Poor’s (S&P) study, states there is a “fairly strong correlation” between customer satisfaction and a supportive utility regulatory environment – and possibly better credit quality and a J.D. Power and Associates Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI), simply stated, satisfied customers are an asset in achieving favorable regulatory outcomes, higher company valuations and, ultimately, higher stock prices.
You learn after B-School that the perfect answer or strategy means nothing if you can’t get people around you to buy in to it and help you achieve it.
Recently, Forbes published the 10 greatest lies told at B-School. One of my favorite is the “soft” courses — leadership and people management — are least important. I remember talking to the professors from the Management Department at my school who had to teach the courses on leadership and people management. They used to lament that the MBAs never paid attention to them in class. Yet, the Executive MBAs (usually in their 40s or 50s) always told them that these courses were the most important of all the B-School classes they took. You learn after B-School that the perfect answer or strategy means nothing if you can’t get people around you to buy in to it and help you achieve it. To do that, you need to motivate them, listen to them, connect with them, and support them when they need it.
New opportunities require we review resources, information, process and openness (RIPO); recently while evaluating a recent project with a partner firm this RIPO method was discussed in great detail. Resources are always a tricky subject. When and how you should add to the team can be dilemma. Too soon can be a financial burden, too late may cause customer issues-a real catch-22. Information must be exchanged, specifications, files, graphics and other data; today the challenges include not only what files but how?
In the digital age with FTP sites, file transfer protocol, it is possible transfer files from one host, server to another. Often these transfers occur in off hours with no waiting, except for your turn in the queue. The process is the sequence of events required to complete the task; new opportunities require we consider the Process. Is it the same or different, how will we manage this new step, what information, what checks and balances; all part of the process. Openness is mandatory. Reviewing openness we should consider our integrity, our intent, our own capabilities and the desired results. Files need to be shared, the need to be unlocked, unprotected. New opportunities require we be open, we share and stand by our beliefs and trust.
Managing new projects is no easy task. Besides RIPO we must consider the risk. We only get one chance to make the first impression. Working together we can close the gaps, practicing a listen first, clarifying expectations and keeping commitments will help us secure opportunities. Delivering quality products, on-time are cornerstones to Customer Service. Customer Service creates job security; the American Express survey said 81 percent of the buying customers believe small businesses do a better job of providing good customer service than large businesses do.
“Getting customer service right is more than just a nice to do; it’s a must-do,” said Jim Bush, executive vice president, American Express World Service. “American consumers are willing to spend more with companies that provide outstanding service, and they will also tell, on average, twice as many people about bad service than they are about good service. Ultimately, great service can drive sales and customer loyalty.”
All the runners in the race compete only one wins-Run to win-
Carol Roth interviews “recovering entrepre-holic”, small business author and speaker Barry Moltz (Bounce!, BAM- Bust A Myth; Delivering Customer Service in Self-Service World) on business and entrepreneurship for the CarolRoth.com Entrepreneurship Interview Series.