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Prioritizing Customer Service

We not only remember outstanding customer service, we talk about it. We tell family, friends, and people we work with about how someone working for a business made us feel special. It could have been a smile, a kind word, a discount, an offer of free delivery, or something totally unexpected. Whatever it was, it made us want to buy again from the business and talk the business up.

Research has consistently shown that the businesses that thrive and prosper are the businesses that emphasize giving customers a consistently superior experience. While satisfied customers are likely to relate their positive experience with a company to an average of nine other people, customers who have had a negative experience are likely to tell 16 people about it.

Given the impact that great customer service can have on a business's bottom line, what should you be doing to ensure your customers are truly impressed by their experiences with your firm?

Focus on Your Employees

The fact is that the customer experience depends on the employee experience. Valued, trusted employees who are fairly compensated can make or break a business. Employees who feel empowered and valued will take the extra steps to ensure that customers get what they want -- and then some. Think about what procedures or systems you can create that can help you identify your customer-focused employees early on and what measures you need to take to keep them motivated and enthusiastic. Pay and benefits matter, of course, but many people are motivated by respect, trust, encouragement, and increasing on-the-job responsibilities.

Offer Convenience

Look closely at how your business operates. Review your delivery, billing, and dispute-resolution processes to determine if they give your customers a seamless, trouble-free experience. Customers want convenience and will do business with companies that are easy to work with.

Provide a Customized Experience

How well do you know your customers? There are numerous tools available that can help you analyze the buying patterns of your customers and use that data to craft special offers and special pricing for them. You can segment customers into groups so that you can provide a highly personalized experience to each of them. Doing so makes your business stand out from the crowd and leaves your customers feeling special.

Make Your Business Accessible Through All Channels

If you are not using every communications channel available, you are probably not being as effective as you could be in reaching your customer base. Social channels, messaging apps, and online chat rooms all encourage customers to connect to your business. Your goal should be to make it as easy as possible for customers to buy what they need. Making your business accessible through every channel is just one other way of delivering memorable customer service.

Emphasize the Human Connection

Let your staff know that personal interaction is still critically important even in the digital age. Customers should be greeted as soon as they show up in person or contact the business. Follow-up calls to ensure that customers are satisfied with their purchase and their overall experience can help identify issues before they escalate into problems. They also serve to reinforce your business's commitment to outstanding customer service.

Delivering superior customer service consistently is just one of the many challenges that businesses face. Other challenges -- financial, strategic, and logistical -- are always present. The input of an experienced financial professional can help business owners navigate these challenges.