Customer care or customer service different names for the same thing is very important for business sustainability. A business should focus on treating their customers correctly by answering any questions they may have, also transparency and truthfulness are required.
When answering your customer's questions always give them an informed response enabling them to decide if they want to purchase from you or not. This approach helps businesses to build a strong relationship with their customers and gain any potential customers.
By providing excellent customer service you can keep your existing customers happy and they, in turn, promote your business without you asking due to the excellent service they received and will gladly be your ambassador, referring you to friends, family or associate or anybody else for this matter which is an automatic endorsement as word of mouth is the most effective marketing strategy.
Your customers are more likely to make a purchase or accept an offer or repeated purchases with an offer or no offers and use you for years due to the perceived excellent service received over the years and becoming your loyal customers. As an example, I used to be with Sky for 29 years and they considered me as a loyal customer and contacted me every year or so to offer me a TV deal or internet and broadband deal and the staff dealing with me were friendly, professional and chatty and even if I left them this year due to bad customers services received for the past two years.
I am still receiving calls from Sky asking why I left them even if I told them before and they apologized profusely for not listening to me over the TV that I asked to cancel for two years and they eventually cancel it after I told them how they dealt with me for the past two years and left even if they apologized I could not trust them any longer and they are still calling me and ask me to come back this only due to the fact that I use this company services for 29 years never made a complaint about bad services received and faithfully stayed and even promoting them when people asked me who provide me with the internet paid my bills for service received.
How to keep excellent customers care or customer services for years
The new Company Act 2006 in section s172 Director's duty and what company directors need to consider when making decisions. The Act provides the following a director of a company must act in a manner that he or she considers, in good faith, would be most likely to promote the success of the company for the benefit of its members as a whole, and in doing consider the various interest of stakeholder and shareholders amongst other matters.
Below is a list of the 6 tenets of the Company Act 2006 for private companies
1. The likely consequences of any decision in the long-term
2. The interests of the company's employees
3. The need to foster the company relationship with suppliers, customers, and others
4. The impact of the company's operations on the community and the environment
5. The desirability of the company maintaining a reputation for a high standard of business conduct
6. The need to act fairly between members of the company
However, the directors in carrying out their role must use their own judgment and skills as well as having regard to the likely long-term consequences of their decisions, in order to prioritise the long-term success of the company. Nevertheless how directors address the interests of shareholders and stakeholders is up to their discretion but they should make this assessment in good faith. The duty of the directors under s172 is to act in good faith and to exercise their powers diligently. This duty is owed to the company and not directly to its shareholders or other stakeholders.
As you can see it is a legal duty to do so in the UK but this applies worldwide to me as wherever your business is in the world excellent customer care is required in order to survive and avoid business closure.
Excellent customer service is not for a short time you need to be consistent with your customers and potential customers too. In order to remain consistent, there are several factors to consider.
You need to treat your employees correctly and understand any issues they may have and provide genuine support to your employees and in turn, they will be happy to work for you and are more likely to treat your customers correctly as if your team is unhappy a small number of staffs will make your customers feel it and it can result in a formal complaint as the other person over the phone is receiving the brunt of their anger but did not do anything apart from contacting you to make an inquiry about a product or services and ensure that your staff received training in customer care as inexperienced staff can cost you business as you are responsible and accountable for your staff including their behaviour towards colleagues and customers as the director of the company is responsible and accountable for all the people who uses the company and employed by the company.
Do not put profit over people
Unfortunately, some company put profit and stakeholders or shareholders over their customers forgetting that without customers they will not be able to give stakeholders or shareholders a return on their investment.
When a company does this and do not care about their customers this when we hear about terrible problems due to cutting corners, saving cost over customers safety, abuses of customers, unfair dealing of customers, not only customers suffer also your staff suffer as they are under an enormous pressure to perform and at all cost put the company in profit, therefore, compromising customer care for money is required.
The latter leads to company closure over time because people will uprise and complain, then proceed to tear down your company and after a while, no one would want to be associated with you and eventually, you will be forgotten and disappears. Do not forget the saying customers put you in business and put you out of business
Always put your customer first and profit last
Companies that put their customers first see the most positive result and are easily able to give the shareholders and stakeholders in their business a return on their investment as their company is thriving and profitable. They also achieve sustainability in business and are there for years to come. You become a household name and top of mind to people
However, in saying that when you make profits as you are meant to for survival in business and you get mighty big and have a group of companies or branches meaning 250 staffs and over do not forget your roaster as I like to say simply mean do not forget the people who helped you get to where you are today your customers and your staffs.
I think the latter happened to Thomas Cook. Thomas Cook was the largest chain of travel agents in the UK until it went into administration in September 2019.
A bit of history about this company founded in 1841 by Thomas Cook who named the company after himself. He was the first travel agent to sell package holidays which he called "pleasure trip" by air in 1919. The company was sold in 1928 after Frank Earnest Cook's descendant took control of the company and it became a public company in 1948 until 1972 when it became a privately owned company again.
47 years later they are in administration the reason is bad management took over the company and they put profit over people, paying executives an enormous amount of money and also bonus money to an executive for sacking an enormous amount of staff and get rewarded for it by giving him over 1M bonus.
Staffs and customers care suffered due to greed settling in the company bringing recklessness, lack of savvy saving cost, developing a reliance on bank and government backing for managing enormous business debt created by greed and bad management. When the request for help from the government was denied it went in administration and countless people lost their job.
It is worse noting that due to their household name and what Thomas Cook represented for the travel agency the brand name has been bought for 11 million by a Chinese company Fosun International of China in October 2019. Hopefully, they revive the company soon.
Listening to your customer
You need to listen to your customers when they call you about a service or product they wish to cancel or other queries they may have such as billing and revolve the issues to their satisfaction if they got a valid reason or if they just want to leave they are entitled to if you do not have a contract in place.
When you do not listen to your customers and decide that you will still provide them with a service they no longer want, it can result in my big trouble when staffs decide that you need it and you tell them you do not and they come up with all type of reason why you need it essentially not listening to you. It results in your customers leaving you no matter how many years they are using your services or products and going to your competitors.
Training your staffs in customer service is important
There is training in customer services in the UK and you can even take courses, ask a company trainer in customer care to visit your company to train your staff in customer service, purchase books, and e-books available to improve your customer service and deliver professional excellent customer services to your customer and potential customers. We at Girlfridayz written an e-book titled how to improve customer service you can find it in our online store Small Business Tips Category for only £5.
If you are interested in accessing training or taking a course in customer service or buy a book about customer service follow this link which will lead you to the page training in customer care excellence where you will find several companies to pick from.
With all of the above, there are no excuses for not providing excellent professional customer care to people who use your services or buy your products or shows an interest in using your services or buying your products.
Professionalism is a must even when dealing with difficult customers
No matter how long customers use your services or products you must remain friendly and professional at all times. You must remember even if you like a particular customer and you developed a good business relationship no special favour or favouritism applies even if you run a family business or crossing professional boundaries and getting personal with your customers is highly not recommended especially when you work in the Health and Social Care and Hospitality industry.
On occasion, you may get difficult abusive customers even if it is tempting to dish out similar or worse abuse that you are receiving for no particular reason because they are unhappy with something and perceived it is your fault or they have been treated badly previously by a company or people in general and are enabled to see that you are not cut from the same cloth, will abuse you at any given moment if they feel they are not treated properly or just hater who out to destroy you. If you are interested to read how we dealt with a difficult abusive customer read our case study
You will need to remain calm and professional as well as reporting the abuse if you have to but do not entertain it has your business will ultimately suffer the consequences of your decision. If you have strong policies in place and warming you apply what you wrote in your policy and inform people politely, positively about the consequences if they carrying on with their bad behaviour without hesitation.
However, all customers whether existing customers, new customers or potential customers, must be treated the same with courtesy, respect, friendliness, transparency, and professionalism which engender trust in the company and enable you to build a good reputation.
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