Customers First

This simple concept is the first key to a customer-centric strategy. This is the base of a customer service-oriented business. Every decision made in the company is centered around the customer experience. Everything else comes second which is why having a customer service culture is so hard. Most businesses are concerned with making money and saving money and the needs of the customer come after that. I am aware that making money is the only way a business survives but this is about priorities. You can have good customer service and have making a profit the first decision or you can have a customer service culter and making a profit is secondary.

Your website isn_t the center of your universe. Your Facebook page isn_t the center of your universe. Your mobile app isn_t the center of your universe. The customer is the center

Are You Prepared to Build a Customer Service Culture?

Training your team on customer service and creating a customer service culture are completely different things. A few hours of training and most teams can learn the basics of customer service and do quite well at it. Building a customer service culture goes to the core of the business. Unless you are prepared to go all in on customer service you are better off with periodic training. Even for the most basic customer service skills, one-time training isn’t enough, your team needs practice and refresher training. If you decide to go all out and build it into your culture it will become a daily thing and your team will be thinking about it at all times. It’s not a bad thing to just train customer service but the legendary service comes from a culture of customer service. If you need help with either just let me know. In the meantime here is an infographic talking about customer service culture.

Customer Service - Building a Customer Service Culture

Doing Customer Service Right: The Basics

Out of all the advice I can give about Customer Service, the number one thing I encourage people to remember is to be grateful. Only a small percentage of customers will complain and want you to make things right, the rest just leave and you won’t know why. A customer making a complaint is giving you the chance to fix something and win back their loyalty. Even if you don’t manage to make things right it is a huge learning opportunity that points out a trouble spot where you could be losing customers and not even know it. Don’t waste this golden moment being mad at a customer, or upset with how they are reacting, be humble they took the time to help your business go further.

Customer Service - Do's and Don't of Customer service

Without Customer Service You Have Nothing.

Bad customer service will ruin a business faster than almost any other factor. It is easy to say you have good customer service but proving it and having a good word of mouth reputation is much harder. As a good example I see ads for auto-mechanics all the time on social media and I hear a bunch on the radio. My mechanic doesn’t advertise at all. Absolutely none and he is almost busier than he can handle. He is my only mechanic for 20 years, I send him all of my friends when they get upset about a mechanic, I send him strangers if I can help it. On top of all that I have never heard a bad word about him. Why? Quality work and good customer service. Here are some statistics to show why customer service is so important and I will be giving tips and advice for creating a customer service culture. If you need one on one help I am a phone call away (435) 554-8209 .
Customer Service - Why Customer Service Matters

Building a Customer Service Culture

You can have good customer service by teaching your team a few skills and a short overview on problem-solving, but then you will be giving business to your competitors. There are few competitive advantages as powerful as Customer Service and few that are harder to maintain. In the world where everyone thinks that competitive advantage means lowering your price, you can stand out by providing stellar customer service. I currently don’t know any physical location in my area that does this so I know the field is open. Here is an infographic to get you started on the path to excellent Customer Service. Let me know if you need any help getting going.

Building a Customer Service Culture.png

The Do’s and Don’ts of Customer Service

Customer service is the lifeblood of a business. No matter what business you are in there is some element of customer service involved. Here is an infographic giving some of the Do’s and Don’ts of customer service to use as a baseline.

Do's and Don't of Customer service

It’s All About Customer Service

If there is one thing I have learned in my 25 plus years of business it’s that customer service should be a top priority because it is part of every aspect of your business. Marketing? Begins with good customer service. Sales? It is customer service. Accounting? Ok, maybe not EVERY aspect, but accounting can be helped by good customer service. Here are some stats to keep in mind as we explore customer service this week.

Why Customer Service Matters

Customer Service – Expectation vs. Reality


We have all experienced a disconnect with what we expect and what we receive. The picture of the food looks nothing like what we get in the package. Sometimes it comes as a big shock because the discrepancy is so obvious and it warrants comment. Such a situation happened to me recently. I ordered a Steak Skillet at a fast casual family restaurant (I won’t mention the name, but it rhymes with Denny’s) because the amount of food was impressive. I would go home full plus something for lunch the next day.  The reality was that I went away hungry and angry. Not only was the food about a third of what was shown, but the customer service surrounding this obvious error compounded the situation. According to McKinsey, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated so not all is lost when an experience starts to go bad.

This experience really started with the waiter asking if everything looked good.  I showed him my mostly empty plate and asked where the rest of the food was. He mumbled something about being sorry I didn’t like the portion and ran away from our table. I didn’t realize potatoes had gotten that expensive. Resolve a complaint in the customer’s favor and they will do business with you again 70% of the time according to Lee Resources, ignore the complaint and you compound the problem. Honestly, I expect a lot of potatoes and filler in a meal like this, eggs and meat are pricey in comparison.

The next misstep was when he made sure to not check on us through the rest of the meal, probably because he could tell I wasn’t happy with the response. A Customer Experience Impact Report by Harris Interactive/RightNow showed the top two reasons for customer loss is that customers feel poorly treated and a failure to solve a problem in a timely manner.

The last misstep was when we went to pay and we were asked if everything was ok. I told them no and why. The response was “Oh, sorry. I hope you come back anyway”. After paying $12 for $4 worth of food? I doubt it. Of course now, as usually happens with bad experiences, I tell everyone.  An American Express Survey in 2011 told us that Americans tell an average of 9 people about good experiences, and tell 16 (nearly two times more) people about poor experiences.

Why does one bad experience matter?

It is well know that keeping a customer is more cost effective than acquiring new ones.  On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs. Gaining them back is also a costly proposition.  Ruby Newell-Legner writes in “Understanding Customers” that it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience. According to NewVoiceMedia, an estimated $41 billion is lost by U.S. companies alone each year due to poor customer service.

How can your company avoid the same mistakes when things go wrong?

1) Match the customer expectations to the delivery. Under-promise and over -deliver isn’t just cliché, it makes happy customers. If under promising is your policy, even when your company has a bad day (which will happen) you are likely to please the customer anyway, or come very close to what you told them. Example, Village Inn has a similar picture on their menu for a skillet but the amount of food you get surpasses the picture. I rarely eat half and it is the same price as the-place-that shall-not-be-named. Which restaurant do you think I will be giving my business to? “Always do more than is required of you.” – George S. Patton

2) Fix the problem. At least make an attempt to make the problem right. If potatoes are too expensive, offer some toast to fill out the meal. Ran out of an item they need? Offer alternatives with a slight discount. At least make an effort to make things right with the customer when they complain. Not every customer will be happy, but a little effort can save quite a few. Lee Resources says that 91% of unhappy customers will not willingly do business with you again and Zendesk says 39% of customers avoid vendors for 2+ years after a bad experience. “Ask your customers to be part of the solution, and don’t view them as part of the problem.” – Alan Weiss

 “News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience. The Takeaway – Take the time to address unhappy customers and do everything in your power to remedy the situation. It’s not only worth keeping their business, but also avoiding any negative word of mouth exposure.” –  White House Office of Consumer Affairs