Entrepreneurs often believe they will win the business game by simply being better.
They believe their product will be better.
They believe their ways will be better. They believe if they build it, they will come!
The service provided to customers in those early days is often just an ad-hoc collection of ideas, rather than processes or standards. This means customer service is a product of who the leaders are, not what they do.
As the business scales, these unwritten standards of how to treat customers slowly fade away.
- Growing businesses lose direction without a customer-focused mission.
- The focus on customer service becomes reactive instead of proactive.
- Valuable customer feedback is ignored or forgotten.
More employees and layers mean more people making poor judgement calls if the rules aren’t written down for them.
It means customers who used to rave about service suddenly feel neglected and ignored.
Business leaders need to identify what customer service they are wanting to deliver. Then they need to create processes and standards around that ideal service.
Here are three important ways to always deliver your best.
1. Focus on a mission.
While your business mission statement may sound lofty and important, that probably doesn’t guide how you provide your ideal customer experience. Sometimes the business mission is also the customer experience mission, but sometimes the customer experience mission develops much better separately.
For example, our mission at 360Connext is To Create Fewer Ruined Days For Customers. This mission statement drives everything we do! We begin every staff meeting with it. We use it as a litmus test when creating deliverables. It helps us understand all the time what we’re trying to do for clients and customers.
But a mission statement saying we want to “be the best” is simply not inspiring to action. What does the best mean? How do you know when you aren’t the best? What actions and results are customer-focused? The mission must include all of these.
2. Create a customer experience proactively.
Don’t rely on reactive customer service. Understanding what sort of ideal customer experience you want to deliver should guide every part of the customer journey.
Considering customer service as the reaction to when customers are unhappy will not serve them.
Leaders need the advantage of mapping their customer experience as it stands today, then seek out any hot spots where the experience could be improved.
This step alone can drastically reduce the customer service issues of any organization.
Mapping the customer journey from the customer’s perspective also forces departments to break down their walls and communicate on the customer’s behalf.
Proactive customer service also means looking for opportunities to step in and serve the customer better instead of waiting for a critical situation.
Social networks are great tools for this, and yet many times leaders opt to only react in those channels.
3. Close the loop.
There is always too much to do, right? Entrepreneurs have approximately one zillion things to do, so asking them to consider customer service as part of their role is not always met with enthusiasm.
However, if leaders can truly close the loop on a customer complaint or concern or question, then the long-term benefits will be there.
Customer questions inform leaders where things aren’t going well. That customer is also invested enough to reach out and ask the question.
Don’t waste this opportunity! By helping them resolve the issue, that customer’s loyalty can actually increase.
Better yet, using their questions and concerns to fine-tune products and services helps avoid future service mishaps and deliver more of what other customers want. Entreprenuers need systems to track these issues and ensure the loop gets closed every time.
The end-goal for any enlightened entrepreneur is loyalty.
It takes a lot less money to keep a customer than to gain one, and loyal customers become evangelists for your organization. Creating a proactive customer experience based on a real mission can go a long way to creating that loyalty.
How do you close the loop in your organization?