The opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
I spend all my workdays as a Customer Service Advisor and Transformation Associate expertto help businesses large and small improve and transform the level of their customer service.
But a valid question is: why is it so valuable from a business perspective to provide exceptional customer service? And is it worth the investment (in time and attention) when other business challenges and opportunities require your attention?
Related: This overlooked leadership trait makes all the difference in your ability to engage an audience
Beware of the deadly commercialization zone
Well, not to get too cocky, it’s highly unlikely that your company or brand offering is entirely unique. Most companies are much closer to the resource dead zone than anyone in those companies realizes. The chances are good, and unfortunately it affects you too.
What is the commercialization zone? It’s one of the scariest places to run a business. Then your company will be seen as more or less interchangeable with the competition. This happens when your current customers are happy to switch to one of your competitors for a variety of insignificant reasons:
- A slightly lower price
- A slightly faster site
- A shinier app
- A slightly more convenient location
Or sometimes for no apparent reason!
Related: 10 ways competition can improve your business
Escape the deadly commercialization zone!
Luckily, there’s a way to prevent your brand from becoming a commodity in the eyes of the marketplace — replaceable, interchangeable. This solution is exceptional customer service.
Build such a strong reputation for excellent customer service and such a strong bond with every customer you come into contact with that your service becomes a differentiator, a lifeline and ultimately a powerful engine of growth.
And you never have to worry about being considered a commodity again.
The long-term, lasting benefits of exceptional customer service
A great customer experience leads to numerous positive outcomes for your business and most importantly, creating passionate, loyal customers. Passionate, loyal customers are less price sensitive, more interested in new products, services, or brand enhancements you might introduce in the future, and more understanding when things go wrong. This is true. I promise! When you’ve done so much and so well for your customers, you reach a state where the little mistakes—and even the occasional big mistake—are viewed in a better, more forgiving light.
A loyal customer is your best form of marketing
There is nothing more powerful in growing a business than the ambassadorship of customers who are so engaged and activated that they make it their mission to spread the good word about your business: crusaders for your brand, who share their passion for your business They share their online connections and real contacts.
Related Topics: 3 Essentials for Building a Loyal Customer Base
The advantage of the excellent customer support is almost forgery-proof
Unlike other business characteristics – low cost, faster speed, location – exceptional customer service is almost tamper-proof. Why? It takes time and focus to become legendary in customer service and customer experience. And when you get there, trust me: the chances of your competition emulating this are very slim.
There’s another benefit you’ll feel right away as you delve into the work we do together. Even before you reach the state of customer activation, loyalty, and ambassadorship I just promised, you will personally see the benefits of your new approach. You will find that you strengthen relationships within your organization and find that your work becomes more enjoyable and rewarding.
How to set out on your journey to providing the highest level of customer service
The journey to delivering exceptional, iconic, and loyalty-building customer service begins with a single step: Make the decision. Choose to put the customer first.
If you decide to put the customer at the center of your approach:
- business decision
- Customer interaction (including things you consider “trivial” like your choice of words and the phrasing you use for them)
- in every hiring decision (Are you hiring people who tend to have empathy? Or are you just hiring based on existing skills and experience?)
- Any staffing/coverage decision, etc., you’re on the right track.
Come in addition:
- Proper customer service training, whether in person or via e-learning (this needs to start with onboarding and continue throughout the life of an employee in your organization)
- Creation and dissemination of customer service standards (best practices) and
- a program and a plan to sustain your new momentum—and you’ll move mountains.