‘Customers aren’t obtained with pretty pictures and empty promises’
Content provided by a guest contributor.
The title given here was the title of an article that appeared in the GIBS Review in September 2006. The article reinforces the key points already made about how to deliver great service. Starting with the self is the key to it, behaving well towards our customers is the proof of it.
In a nutshell, the article argues that the key to excellence in customer service resides in people, not in marketing gadgetry. Having recognised that it starts with the self, if people also understand the values of the business and its branding well, if the vision of the business lives in their hearts, spirits and minds, then amazing customer service follows!
The author of the article goes on to make some strong points in the following lessons drawn from experience:
- Staff (and business owners and managers for that matter) need to own the business brand
Promises are made by businesses to consumers, and money is spent in the process of making them. But promises are kept by people; people who are engaged (‘all the buttons are on’) and who feel responsible and accountable for quality delivery.
A good question to ask is how much money do I allocate to my advertising spend, and how much to my staff really owning and acting on my branding?
- Businesses must market themselves from the inside out
I wonder how many businesses really think about this, let alone do it, or do it well? This is a superb way for a business to nurture committed and accountable people who want to represent the business to the best of their ability and give all they’ve got to the customers.
- Businesses must live their brands, if staff are to believe them
If a business talks about support for and caring for its customers, it must really make sure it does this with its staff as well! This is called integrity – doing what you say you do - otherwise the chances of customers feeling cared for and supported is very much reduced.
People become cynical and disenchanted with empty marketing claims and end up mirroring the owner’s/manager’s behaviour in their own.
The most powerful point of all is that if you can achieve great customer service, you will hold the competitive edge in today’s marketplace and contribute to a growing nation.
Staff members keep jobs and you keep your business. The nation’s economy grows and can offer more jobs to its unemployed and young. The marketplace today is crowded with the same or similar products and services within nations and across the globe, accessible in an instant via the Internet.
What makes you stand out in the crowd is your ability to give really great service, quicker, cheaper and better than anyone else. Heard it before, so why do we still have so much poor service?
In his book, Selling the Invisible (the best I’ve ever read on the subject of marketing and selling services), Harry Beckwith relates a really powerful story about a customer in a clothing store which offered clothing repair services as well.
The customer wanted some repairs to a jacket. The store manager saw that there was a problem with the jacket buttonholes being too small as well and told the customer that he wanted to get advice from his tailor upstairs about fixing them (great customer service, displaying great initiative as well!).
Whilst he was doing this, the customer wandered around the shop and ended up choosing some new clothes to buy. The eventual sale bore no relation to the need that brought the customer into the store.
Point made I think?
Article written by Ms Jan Beeton, owner-manager, QED Development Consulting CC, an independent development consultancy specialising in micro-enterprise development and business development support services.