Scenario: "Dude, we can't always focus on the customer. We need to grow revenues! Yay!" A great way to grow those revenues? Focus on service, and your long-term prospects look that much sexier.
Tha Empirical Evidence
Sure, you read about customer service in business books all-the-frickin'-time -- theories that "sound good," and that's about it. But if you're a badass business builder, you want empirical evidence that customer service rocks. And to save the day, finally -- about a few months ago, comes a study by University of Michigan Professor Claes Fornell and friends:
What They DidFornell and colleagues showed the relationship between customer satisfaction and financial success by creating a hedge portfolio in which stocks are bought long and sold short in response to changes in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).
What They TrackedDeveloped by the University of Michigan's National Quality Research Center, the ACSI is an indicator of economic success that reflects levels of customer satisfaction with goods and services purchased from about 200 companies in more than 40 industries; it's based on interviews with more than 65,000 U.S. consumers each year.
What ResultedCollectively, the companies with high customer-satisfaction scores have blown the S&P 500 out of the water (ASCI 144.5% versus ASCI 38.7%, respectively), especially over the last few years.
Whether you're a major public company, or a tiny business, solid customer service is one of your essential ingredients to rock the world.
Why We Avoid Customer Service
Before you started your business, your precocious behind probably thought like most (us included): * "I'm gonna build a business with the best customer service around! Yay!" And then, when you started building your business, something similar happened: * You just finished a transaction with Customer A. * You're trying to deal with Customer B. * Customer A comes calling after you. * You do whatever you can to avoid Customer A, so you can concentrate on Customer B.
Who could blame you?
* You want to increase sales by 20% this quarter. * Customer A doesn't boost your bottom line (or at least, it's not as obvious that s/he does). So, the logical thing -- it seems -- is to just focus on new transactions, and leave customer service left to dry.
Why Customer Service Matters
When you avoid customer service, you're putting a band-aid on a major internal injury. It seems dandy in the short-term, but the "Grow, grow, grow, grow!" mentality -- with mediocre service -- will run your business into the ground. How? * Crippling your business's foundation. * Causing horrific word-of-mouth. * Killing repeat purchases. * Destroying referral rates.< * Stifling your company's potential. If you're customers are hating on you, take that as a sign that your customer service needs major surgery. That could include: * Increasing product prices. * Keeping growth in check. * Training your employees more effectively. * Boosting efficiency. Once you fix whatever that's harming your customer service, you prep your fabulous business for the long-term -- and see yourself growing those ridiculous revenues you once envisioned. The relationship rule of thumb: * Customer service, first. * Growth, second. Sing it with us:
"How may I serve you, you sexy !@#$?"
Posted on March 01
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