Why Customer Service is Importantand Why It’s Paramount in My Business
After almost two decades in the painting and decorating industry, I’ve learned that there’s nothing more important in business than customer service. When you manage your customer service properly and guide them through the process of working with you, you’ll develop relationships with customers that not only leads them to recommend you to their friends and family, but can last a lifetime, too.
In this article I’m going to explain exactly why customer service is important, and how I build my business from the ground-up to incorporate my strong belief in superior customer service.
Your Customers Are Your Business
What is your business without your customers? Quite simply, you don’t have one. If you neglect to provide your customers with great customer service you’ll not only make your life much more difficult (who wants to deal with angry customers all day?) but you’ll also stop your business’s heartbeat.
A Bird in the Hand is Two in the Bush
This saying has never been truer than when applied to the world of customer service and retention. What do you think is easier, keeping a customer you’ve already got or finding two more? Customer retention is key in growing your business and your reputation, which many growth-focused businesses forget. Yes, most businesses do want to grow, but a great reputation will put your business in high demand with customers you’ve already served, those who had a past client recommend you to them, and those who simply find you organically and see all your great testimonials and reviews.
Customers Expect Customer Service to be Reflected in the Pricing
If you are a premium business you are expected to offer a far higher level of customer service than normal. While any business should be quick to rectify problems and answer queries, if you product or service demands a high-ticket price, you better not drop the ball. Of course, while this adds a little extra pressure, once you’ve got a great reputation for high quality customer service, people will be willing to go with you over your competitors because they know they’ll be looked after.
Your Customer Service is a Huge Part of Your Brand
What words and phrases do you want customers (past, present, and future) to think of when presented with your brand? Your reputation will proceed you everywhere you go, whether you want it to or not. Every time you (or a team member) interacts with a customer, they are representing your brand. A great customer service interaction will leave your clients using words like “trustworthy” “friendly” and “nothing is too much trouble” when describing you. Give them a bad or lacklustre interaction and you’ll see words like “careless”, “unresponsive”, and “rude”.
Great Customer Service Gets You Great Reviews and Testimonials
When a customer is blown away by the service you’ve been able to offer them they are far more likely to sit down and write you a quick testimonial for your site or leave you a glowing review on Facebook or Google. These customers are also likely to refer you to friends, colleagues, and family. Just don’t forget to ask them to do it and make the process easy if you want to garner those social media reviews. This word-of-mouth marketing is completely free and worth more to you than any other kind of marketing you can do.
Great Customer Service Opens New Doors to Partnerships
When you’re known for treating your customers like they’re worth their weight in gold, other people in your industry or similar industries will be happy to recommend you to customers they can’t serve, and brands and manufacturers will be happy to partner with you. I’ve developed some great relationships with top manufacturers in my industry, and that’s put me in a great position to offer my clients the very best products available.
So, How Can You Prioritise Customer Service?
One of the best ways to prioritise customer service and value your customers as highly as possible is to breed great customer values directly into your business by including it in your business’s mission statement, vision, and values. This is exactly what I’ve done with Paul Walden Interiors, and it means great customer service is innate to everything I do.
Who Are You? What Do You Stand For?
This is something that evolves the longer you are in business as you find your strengths as a business and learn more about why your customers choose you over the competition. While we can, and should, plan for what we want to be known for, you may decide to embrace a trait you’ve been told you have frequently in customer feedback. Who you are and what you stand for will define your company’s mission, vision, and values.
For example, Paul Walden Interiors’ mission is to create unique and breath-taking results for discerning clients, and to offer those clients a spectacular range of materials to transform their spaces. My mission is extremely customer-focused, and I can’t achieve my mission without offering those clients the best customer service possible. From the materials I offer through to the final finish, my mission is entirely focused on giving the customer the best experience possible.
Create Your Vision with Your Customers In Mind
It’s common – and perfectly okay – for your vision to be focused on what you want your company to be known for and grow to be. But, you should also be able to see elements of your customer service values in there, and if you can take it a step further, even better.
For example, my vision is to be regionally recognised for my craftsmanship and offer a superior level of service that sets the bar high for the industry. From the recognised, to craftmanship, to service, my customers are central to my vision. After all, as mentioned in the very first point of the article, if you don’t have customers you don’t have a business!
Craft Strong and Clear Values
Your values should be infused into everything you do in your business every day. Your values are five or six words that represent what your business values most in the way you do business, and vary wildly from business to business.
Paul Walden Interior’s values are:
- Craftsmanship – After 20 years in the industry I know exactly what it takes to give customers the highest level of finish possible, and so I oversee all installations. No one’s standards are higher than my own.
- Dedication– I am completely dedicated to my niche of high-end wallpaper, wall coverings, and painting services.
- Integrity – Trust, transparency, and ethical behaviour mean everything to me, both in the business and in my life away from it.
- Communication – Communication is key to great customer service and client satisfaction, so I work closely with them to ensure their vision is achieved. I’m easily reachable by phone or email.
- Experience – With 20 years in the industry, I’m experienced and I’ve dedicated myself to learning my craft. I still take full advantage to learn about new products and technologies that will offer my clients an even higher standard of finish.
- Satisfaction – Client satisfaction is my only measure of success; their opinion is paramount and I strive to be the best because of their feedback.
Every value is a nod to how important customer service is. Values are individual to every company, but should reflect their dedication to customer service and what that means for them. That might mean they value speed, flexibility, ease of use, support, progress – whatever they and their customers most value. It can be helpful while making your list of values to note down any words that come to mind that are the opposite of what you offer, even if they aren’t necessarily a negative word. A business can offer speed, quality, or a low cost, but it cannot do all three. So while speed may be a value for one business, it won’t be one for a business like mine where the quality of finish is paramount. That’s not to say that you move at a slow pace on purpose, it’s just not rushing though the process or finding corners that can be cut in order to offer a product or service more quickly.
Customer service is paramount in my business, as it should be in all businesses. If you can create your values, vision and mission with your customers in mind at every step of the way, you’ll find success. Your customers are the lifeblood of your business and should be treated as so, and getting ultra-clear on your ideal customer avatar can help you decide exactly how you will serve your customers in the best way for them.