It might sound like an obvious thing to do: put your customer first. But what does that actually mean when it comes to your business and leadership opportunities?
Myer CEO Bernie Brookes referenced the need to adjust the way the retail giant tackles customer service, empowering employees to make good decisions and rewarding them with better wages to ensure customer service plays an important role in his 100-day plan.
Setting aside the obvious benefits of a happy purchase experience, there are many reasons why putting your client’s front and center of the business’ strategic objectives will pay dividends in the long run. Here are my top 5:
1. Weather the bad times. Nothing is perfect, ever. There will of course be conversations, interactions or experiences that don’t go your way, but if you have built a reputation for putting your customer first you will be more likely to weather the storm of any bad times unaffected.
2. Retrieve relevant feedback. By putting your customer first you open your lines of communications and your mindset, valuing what your customers have to say with greater importance. This can pay dividends when it comes time to evaluate what your customers want and could also save you the embarrassment of ignoring the seemingly obvious.
3. Save money. It is no secret that it costs a lot more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing customer happy. That said it is very easy to get caught up in the concept of pushing for new acquisitions rather than focusing on how your existing customers can be converted from casual interaction with your business to brand advocates that bring their friends with them, for free. For this to happen you need to invest time and consideration into how you will engage these customers so that the relationship is as much about providing them with value as it is with receiving anything in return.
4. Customers expect you to. Gone are the days where businesses can dictate to consumers what they should do and when. With the advent of the internet and social media and online review platforms the customer now has all the power. You need to be where they are, talking to them in a way that resonates. If you aren’t considering what your customers want, rather than what you think they need, you run the risk being left behind as the market constantly evolves and their needs change with it.
5. Customer experience. Nothing is worse than a poorly designed website or app that leaves you wondering what you need to do to make use of it. The same goes for finding things in a store or talking to an IT company when something is broken. If you have not seen your business from the customer perspective and tried to understand what their expectations are in regards to the service you deliver, they will simply leave. Customer experience is everything, given we now live in a world spoilt for choice. If something isn’t working we quickly move on to what is.
What do you think, has the art of customer service been lost?
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