In his work as a motivational speaker and sales trainer, The Sales Coaching Institute’s principal Doug Dvorak travels somewhere almost every week.
As a frequent flier, he has always made it a habit to fly United because it was convenient, and they were usually fairly reliable. That said, he would never have described himself as being loyal to United or a “die hard” patron. That all changed in November 2023.
On his birthday, Doug had to take a flight from Boise to Dallas. At one point during the flight, the flight attendant came approached him and asked him if he was Doug Dvorak. When he answered ‘yes,’ she presented him with a birthday card that had been signed by the entire crew. She also thanked him for being such a loyal United customer.
That simple act of appreciation made Doug’s day. It also served to heighten his awareness of all the other little improvements United had made to its customer service. By the end of the flight, he was as loyal a United die hard as you will ever meet!
It also got him thinking about how customer service is one of the first areas to suffer whenever a business cuts back on costs. From glitchy websites to automated help lines, many businesses will sacrifice the needs of their customers to save money. That is why businesses that really do care about their customers tend to stand out.
The power of quality customer service should not be overlooked by any business owner. Knowing what strategies to use and how to implement them effectively will help you keep the customers coming back for more over and over again.
Why Customer Service is so Important
According to Colleen Barret, President Emerita of Southwest Airlines, “To earn the respect (and eventually love) of your customers, you first have to respect those customers. That is why Golden Rule behavior is embraced by most of the winning companies.”
Seeing each customer as a statistic will not go unnoticed. In fact it is one of the most efficient ways to lose their business. Wasting their time, minimizing their concerns, or flat-out deceiving them to get a quick buck (even if you are not technically lying), are all anti-consumer behaviors that will flag your business as one that doesn’t care about its customers.
Even if your business is the only one in the area for a specific service, they will leave you the first chance they get. Customers have long memories.
But when you treat your customers like they are important to you, they will notice. Good customer service shows that they and their time are valued. When a business makes a customer feel valued, those customers will want to come back to support them. Additionally, good customer service will also make the experience that you are trying to provide a lot more appealing and will make them want to come back for that experience.
Furthermore, good customer service will boost your business’s reputation. When new people hear about your place and hear good things about it, they are more willing to try it out and are likely to become long-time patrons. It also shows that your business has standards, thus are more likely to be trusted.
Your boosted reputation will also make it a place where people want to work. While there are some who prefer to slack off and don’t care about how they work with customers, there are many who do want to make a positive impact, even if it is just a small part of their day. It will also boost your connections as more businesses will want to work with you due to your reputation.
How to Enhance Your Customer Service
There are many ways a business can improve their customer service, even if it is already fairly good. The first thing that you must ensure is that your customer service staff is polite and friendly. Ensure your employees always treat people with respect as a friendly interaction can ensure that your customers like interacting with your employees. They will remember that, too.
But one way to make someone’s bad day worse is to be inconvenienced, especially unnecessarily so. Ensure that your service is as streamlined as possible and eliminate any unnecessary hoops for your customers to jump through.
Most people just want to be in and out. Trying to convince them that your special will often lead to people not wanting to bother with your service. This means not correcting your customers on made-up company jargon or ensuring that they are able to easily connect to an actual person without having to cuss out the automated voice service. This also means making it easy to find your customer service number and providing easy means of getting a refund. Making things difficult for your customers will just steer them away from your business.
Another way to enhance customer service is to be accommodating. Be willing to help out customers who are struggling and be able to work with them to solve their issue. Sometimes this may include thinking outside the box and doing things that would inconvenience you. Even if you aren’t able to help, the attempt will usually be appreciated.
Finally, make your customer feel appreciated. Reward their loyalty with special deals, stamp cards, gifts, or even special events for a group of loyal patrons. Something as simple as remembering their name and thanking them for their time can go a long way in making a passing customer into a loyal one.