Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Business Reputation and High Quality Customer Services

Reaching customer loyalty is definitely one of the most difficult thing in business. Usually people assert «it is easier to secure customer loyalty than to gain a new one». This is so true that actually when I see suppliers who are not committed to an excellent customer services, I feel that these guys really don't get the point.
Let's consider this situation, I experienced myself. Recently I wanted to open a new bank account and actually, as there was a bank which made lots of TV ads, evidencing its excellent QoS, I told myself, why not this one which in addition had an agency in my neighborhood. After three phone calls, I got a rendez-vous which turned out to be the worst one I ever had.

First of all the customer adviser who welcomed me was quite straight and cold, no smile, no warm reception, only weird remarks like «we would need 3 open days between documents check out and necessary approval from hierarchy before setting a new account». I was so astonished by this policy severity just for a simple account opening that I asked for an appointment with the director to share with him my surprise. But strangely, he (the director) did not seem to be annoyed by the situation about their customer service poorness and unwelcome reception. Finally, I abandoned any idea to set a relation with that bank agency.

Weeks after, I was discussing with one of my workmate and I told him about my experience with this «Banque» very «Populaire» of «Des Alpes» (not recommendable). Amazingly, he also had an unfortunate experience with them at the same agency and guess what: with the same people; worse he knew someone else who likewise was unhappy with this bank services.

Now if we study this case in a business perspective: being unsatisfied with this bank services, in one month I informed 5 friends, and I guess at their turn they have said other persons around them. Also my workmate and his friend do the same as well, in 4 months this bank already would have lost a few tens of potential customers. Is that the purpose of a company ? I dare guess not !

In fact this incident leads to a very sad conclusion: today a lot of companies are more and more careless about their customer services, which is a huge mistake for brand image, business reputation and also e-reputation as cared of by this web marketing and Internet services companies, I collaborate with.

As someone who is particularly touchy and sensitive in issues concerning quality of services and good customer relationship, I allow myself to share some suggestions of DO's and DON'Ts for a better customer service

DO's with customers
First of all it is important to keep in mind that "customer is vital", for our company success and if the customer is not satisfied, he'll run away for the competitor.
  • Listen to the customer for a better understanding of their expectations 
  • Be positive and cheerful when exposed in front office (should be a major criteria before hiring customer adviser). It reminded me this saleswoman from a shoes store I visited during a travel in Italy: She was welcoming and so professional. By observing her, I saw she had a warm attention for all customers, each one was wonderfully valued as he/she was unique. Henceforth every time, I go to Italy I go shopping to her store. In few words, be passionate and stay professional in all circumstances
  • Communicate with your customer with accuracy, tact and always treat them in the way you would like to be treated
  • Adopt a win-win attitude and try as possible as you can to propose alternative solutions in case the service/product does not correspond to the customer needs

DON'Ts with customers
  • Behave with rudeness in the way of speaking, acting and dealing business because these attitudes kill any relation of trust
  • Assault customers with promotions and ads services by telephone: old fashion prospecting method to definitely throw away
  • Make the client wait for a while in waiting room, mostly during a business appointment, because he risks to leave and never come back

There are surely many others DO's and DON'Ts I could list here, but I do believe that what matters more in any customer-supplier relationship, is: respect an trust. And when a customer is satisfied of our services, he'll advertise positively our company, but if he is unsatisfied, it's a shortfall for our business. This being said, excellent customer services is in my point of view a marketing tactic any company shall take into consideration.
Cheers ;-)