What is the best way to disrupt the competition? It is through providing the best customer service. Effective customer service is the secret to business success.
What do big brands like Amazon, Wal-Mart, Zappos, and Google have in common? They excel in customer service. They understand that the customer is king. There are customer service lessons that every entrepreneur can learn from big brands.
Understand the Needs of Customers
It isn’t possible to serve customers effectively if you don’t understand their needs. Customer service starts with knowing what the customers want.
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Amazon is the reigning champion when it comes to customer service. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, has taken the philosophy of caring for the customer seriously. He came up with a company policy that requires every new hire to work in a call center. This is a doctrine borrowed from the U.S. Marines where every marine, regardless of rank, has to be trained as a rifleman first.
By working in a call center, a new hire will understand the needs of customers. Amazon’s philosophy is about listening, and call center work involves a lot of listening. By listening to customers, you understand their needs.
Respect the Customer
Leading brands have fallen from grace to grass because of mishandling unhappy customers. Companies need to have a concise plan on how to deal with customer complaints and negative reviews. It is important to respect the opinions of customers. Entrepreneurs should learn to apologize. At times, bad decisions create an opportunity for sealing loopholes.
Apologizing is frustrating and embarrassing. However, it shows that a customer is respected. A timely apology will help customers forget a bad experience with a company.
Serve the Needs of Customers
According to CarGuard Trevor Smith, companies shouldn’t be competitor-obsessed. Instead, they should be customer-obsessed. They should start with the needs of customers and work backward.
CarGuard Trevor Smith believes that the customer should come first. Every decision should be made with the needs of the customer in mind. At CarGuard, every new hire is trained to serve customers effectively. Employees usually undergo product knowledge training so that they can be in a better position to answer the questions of customers.
Build a Culture of Customer Service
Top brands, including Amazon, Apple, Rackspace, CarGuard, and Nike, have a culture of great customer service. A company that wants to stand out from the competition should have customer service ingrained in the hearts and minds of employees.
Frontline employees aren’t the only ones that should embrace great customer service. That should also be the case with backend employees, including computer technicians and bookkeepers.
It all starts at the highest levels of the organization. When management prioritizes customer service, it will be easier for employees to do the same. All employees should undergo customer service training.
According to CarGuard Trevor Smith, great customer service starts at the top. Management has to define it, disseminate it, and deploy it through training. Managers should demonstrate effective customer service through their actions.
Respond to Customer Feedback
In today’s digital age, customers can easily post their personal experiences with a company on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms. It is important to acknowledge customer feedback, whether it is positive or negative. By doing so, customers will feel valued and cared for.
The customer is the most important business asset. Without customers, a company cannot be in business. Management should take customer service seriously.