Do you know why companies spend thousands and millions on customer service each year? Let me tell you the cold hard truth: no matter whether the business is large or small, it's not that they love you and want to fulfil your every need it's that they want your money.
The best way to have a customer come back time and time again is to give them an experience they will never forget (in a good way). This means great customer service.
But there is a caveat to this universal law: it also works in reverse. If you screw a loyal customer, who might also happen to be a supplier of yours, you'll end up shafted.
In her first blog post for Blog30 Andrea Stenberg gives the story of Sean. Sean is a successful business guy who is wronged by one of his clients. What did he do? He stopped shopping at that clients store, completely black listing him. That clients not only lost a valuable client of his own but lost many other clients due to the bad reputation. It's best if you read the story for yourself. http://thebabyboomerentrepreneur.com/1442/is-getting-the-best-price-really-worth-it/comment-page-1/#comment-7101
Though the tale doesn't end there for you and I …
I have a similar story to tell, though it's not exactly like Sean's it does get the point across that you really need quality customer service. But not just customer service, what you also need is Customer Care!
See, near my home in the States there are plenty of mailing options for me to choose from. But I always pick one for my package mailing needs:
I’m a stickler for cheaper prices, I’ll drive around shop around and even buy international if it’s cheaper BUT what keeps me coming back to one place isn’t always the lowest price. Where I live in the USA, I have plenty of mailing options: UPS, USPS, FEDEX and there used to be DHL and a few local biz.
Do I use the loca guys…. no. I’d love to, they have neat prices and some decent customer service …. sometimes. But they are sometimes a bit rude.
There is a very small FedEx store hidden away near a main street and you are guaranteed to never know it’s there unless you are looking for it, heck even if you are looking for it you’ll miss it a few times. It’s owned by a older asian lady whose English isn’t exactly up to par. But, she for the most part a) knows that I’m an idiot and have NO clue about mailing anything and b) she’s extremely patient c) is willing to bend the rules enough to keep me very happy.
So, where do I go to send any package? USPS because they are dirt cheap? No, I save that for regular mail. I go to this cool older (not old just older) asian ladies small Fedex store. I know she’ll understand that I didn’t package something right and she’ll fix it, she’ll help me fill out forms even if I mess them up several times.
Customer service and loyalty as I know it have kept her little business, even though it’s hidden away, going strong for many years now.
The moral of the story: Customer Service (and Care) means customer loyalty and monies in your pockets. Remember, it's not YOU who pays the bills, it's really the customers. Without them you and I have nothing.