Editor’s Note: Kevin Anderson is a guest contributor sharing his experience and perspective on quality customer service and the important role it plays in business, whether that be in retail, advertising, etc.
On hearing the phrase customer service, most folks likely think at once of the times they’ve received poor service. Why?
The answer? Poor service, alas, has more and more become the standard in too many businesses. Each of us can likely cite numerous occasions when a clerk ignored us, when we felt like an imposition rather than a paying customer or when a “customer service rep” did little or nothing to solve a problem in a friendly, timely fashion. It appears that serving customers – making them feel appreciated, valued and the most important person in a given moment – has become something of a lost art.
A maxim in the business world holds that customer service forms the lifeline of business. If so, then why do we so often see bad or nonexistent service? If customer service truly drives your business, then why does it self-evidently fail to earn more emphasis?
Customer service gives a business the chance to look through the narrow window of opportunity, that short period when a customer turns into a repeat customer. Good service sets businesses apart from competitors that may be offering the same or similar products. Good service allows you to strengthen your hold of a situation by assuring the customer you can deliver what’s desired or needed. Good service leaves a refreshing impression of professionalism, while poor service probably prompts only disappointment – and perhaps a plan to seek service elsewhere.
Customer service remains forever in play in the business world. It matters little what kind of business you own or serve – customer service always comes front and center. Failing to return a customer’s phone call, similarly failing to greet and help customers, engaging in personal texting in view of customers, conversing inappropriately with co-workers – all of these inactions or actions exemplify bad customer service too often displayed at businesses areawide.
If you’re not serving the customer – greeting, smiling, listening, helping – then you’re providing bad customer service – and bad service ultimately leads a customer to think, “Hey, maybe I don’t want to do business here if I’m going to be treated like my business doesn’t matter.”
Make a customer’s shopping or other experience great simply by doing what customer service, at base, involves: serving the customer. Consider that the bare minimum. If you’re really on your game, then the sky’s the limit. You enjoy an awesome opportunity to wow your customers each time you interact with them. Doing so often takes only a simple smile, a compliment or a sense of urgency in recognizing the valuable nature of their time and business.
So brighten your customers’ day by reassuring them their business matters and you’re happy to help. In doing so, customers frequently become return customers. That may sound deceptively simple, but it works.
Kevin M. Anderson, an experienced retail stylist at Nordstrom, has a keen eye and sense of style that have enabled him to become a leader in St. Louis men’s fashion.