Customer service should be your #1 priority, regardless of the type of business you’re running. On that same note, did you know that it can cost 5-10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to maintain an existing one (source).
Unfortunately, it seems like many companies today are neglecting customer care. How many times have you tried to contact a company, only to be greeted by a recording? Not only that, but a lot of them make talking to an actual person either non-existent or nearly impossible.
This all stems from an interaction I had today at a government owned local business. I won’t say the name, but they specialize in putting envelopes in mailboxes 😉 Needless to say, I’m not pleased with my experience right now. Not only did I know more about their products/services than they did, but they immediately tried to brush me off and get rid of me
If the employees would have actually taken the time to listen to me, it would have saved us all a lot of time and trouble. I told them the exact form I needed and the price it would cost upfront. Instead, I got several different stories from them. #1 – The service I was requesting was not something they could do. #2 – I was referred to their website (already went there). In fact, they must have told me 3 or 4 different times to go online and figure it out. #3 – Had I tried calling their national phone number (YES). #4 – The service I was requesting was unnecessary and things would just work itself out (by now, I’m banging my head on the wall). #5 – They might be able to help me, but had to call around to other post offices to see if it could be done (insert tears).
After turning a 5 minute process into an HOUR, I was finally told that they could do it, using the form I initially told them was needed. Oh, and surprise, it cost the exact amount I originally told them. As a customer, I was quite upset about this interaction! It was only after I started crying and stressed the importance of their service that they started actually doing something. In my book, this is unacceptable. Given the choice, I would never do business there again. Unfortunately, that is not an option.
But, what I can do is take this negative experience and turn it into a lesson when it comes to running my own business. In life, there is always something positive that can be gained from experiences such as this. For instance, if a client addresses me with a problem, it is imperative that I fully listen to what they have to say. If I’m not listening, then I can’t remedy the situation. Not only that, but taking the time to really listen and focus on what they have to say let’s them know that I really care and creates value and loyalty.
When was the last time you went to a company with a problem and they really took the time to understand where you were coming from? Consumers typically have a wide range of choices when it comes to most products and services. Therefore, as business owners, it is incredibly important that we make sure our customers know how appreciated and important they are to us with each and every interaction.
This is why I’ve made excellent customer service my number one priority with my photography. I want my clients to know how much I appreciate them and that I truly value their business. If you’d like to know how great I treat my customers, contact me at (618) 662-2401. I promise the only recording you may hear is my answering machine 🙂