There are a lot of options out there for today’s customers. Chances are very good that
whatever product or service your business provides, someone else provides it, as
well. Most likely, several others provide your product or service, and there is a range of
prices and a spectrum of quality within your industry. Thus, it begs the eternal
question: “Why should I do business with you?”
It is Sales and Marketing’s role to provide compelling answers to that question. Once
satisfactorily answered, a customer is born. However, almost immediately thereafter,
the question becomes: “Why should I continue to do business with you?”
And Customer Service should answer that question. First, let’s all agree that “Customer
Service” is not a department; it is an attitude, a corporate value, an attention to detail
concerning the people who may pay money to your business. It’s a fundamental. And
it is everyone’s job.
Customer Service nowadays is much more than answering the 800# lines and taking the
orders. There is a whole mindset of caring that the best businesses consistently
display. Customers want to be recognized. They want to be heard. The best businesses
track their repeat customers, and keep data on their likes and dislikes, and then use that
information the next time they serve them. The best businesses also have a variety of
forums for their customers to provide opinions and suggestions, such as telephone,
email, web site, trade shows, conferences, etc. The best businesses care what their
Try to see the world through your customer’s eyes, and then figure out where your
business can best fit in. Is he or she feeling any pain? Well, is there anything that your
business can do to help remedy that pain? It may not even directly associate with your
product/service, but perhaps with the delivery of it, or the payment for it, or the timing of it.
Each of us buys and sells solutions, and sometimes the solution you sell has less to
do with your product/service, and more to do with how you made the agreement.
Providing great service does not have to mean incurring a great expense. The primary
aspect of outstanding service anywhere is simply communication. Knowing what your
customer wants. How? You ask him or her, and you listen to what you’re told. If you
don’t understand, then ask questions until you do understand. Then, formulate an
action plan on addressing the customer’s needs, and share that plan with the customer,
so he/she knows the needs are going to be met. Another solution. Another sale.
— Charles Dennis
© Knowledgence Associates, 2002 / All Rights Reserved