We’ve all seen the news lately and heard of lots of large and small businesses closing down. No doubt, you’ve also seen the impact on your high street with both large and smaller, independent retailers shutting up shop.
However, it’s important to realise that despite uncertainty in the economic environment, high levels of competition and increasingly value and price conscious customers, there is demand and opportunity out there for businesses that provide good value products and services combined with great customer service.
This is backed up by research from the Institute of Customer Service which states that:
- Two thirds of retailers consider ‘customer switching’ as a significant threat to their future sales whilst a third consider this customer behaviour as the biggest single threat to their business.
- However, three quarters of the businesses surveyed believe that the delivery of good customer service is an essential differentiator in the current economic environment.
- This is echoed by 83 percent of customers surveyed who said that the quality of service that they receive is very important to them when it comes to retaining their loyalty as a customer.
That doesn’t mean that you have to offer the lowest prices and the best service to succeed. It is important to point out that whilst customers are looking for competitive prices many are not willing to sacrifice service over price. I wrote about this on my blog a while ago where I talked about an article on mycustomer.com, where Right Now CEO Greg Gianforte quoted an interesting poll from Harris Interactive:
“According to their research, some 84% of customers would be prepared to pay 5% over the standard rate for a superior customer experience, 62% would pay 10% more, 25% would pay 15% more and 11% would pay 25% more.”
What I am not saying is that we all should put our prices up (although for some businesses that can be a great growth strategy). What I am saying is that when we develop our customer service we must understand what is right and best for our customers.
Customer service should not always be about making things fancy or delightful as that’s not what everyone wants and sometimes it’s just not appropriate. Sometimes customer service should about making things easy or familiar.
Why easy? Well, we are all busy so making something easy and quick and saving them time and hassle can be the best gift we can give to someone. Would you value that? I would.
What about familiarity? Where’s the value in that? As customers we are people too. So, why do we like familiarity? Because it’s understood. It feels less risky. Would you value that? I would.
In the end, for some businesses great customer service may only need to save us time and feel risk free, particularly with your existing customers (your most important asset).
When you are thinking about improving your customer service in your business are you over thinking and complicating it?