Customer Service Essay examples
1384 Words6 Pages
Companies are misguided nowadays by the notion that customers depend on them, when the truth of the matter is that companies are dependent on those customers. Customer satisfaction and customer loyalty is now essential for a business or company to survive. So what is the difference between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty and how to companies and or business achieve this? Also when you have difficult customers how do you achieve customer satisfaction?
It’s essential that companies or businesses today listen to their customers. No company or business today can afford to disregard the importance of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Aren’t they the same thing? No, they are absolutely not and they are enormously…show more content…
Customer loyalty is much harder to obtain that customer service satisfaction. The most important first step is to satisfy the customer by meeting their expectations. Customers only give a company one chance and if they aren’t satisfied they will not do business with that company again, as well as tell others of their experience. The next step would be to exceed the customer’s expectations. If a business goes above and beyond to assist the customer they begin to build loyalty. The next step is to truly surprise the customer. In order to dominate the marketplace the company must find a way to make them selves stand out with their product or service, accompanied with phenomenal customer service. Once this has been done customer satisfaction and loyalty will be gained. “Acquiring a new customer can cost four or five times more than keeping a current customer” (Bestmark, 2013). So it’s essential to keep the current customer’s happy and coming back for more.
Some of the ways that businesses can build loyalty would be by offering loyalty programs, Interacting with customers, surveys, creating institutional ties, and personalized marketing. Another way to build loyalty is to treat your employees so well that they treat your customers well. If you have happy employees they will treat your customers happy. “The link between satisfaction and loyalty however is not proportional” (Kotler, Keller, 2009, p71), so businesses must
The Customer Is Always Right. Right?
But sometimes you need to guide them to a solution
Published: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 - 09:55
About The Author
Robert Napoletano, a supplier quality engineer at New York Air Brake, is a senior member of the American Society for Quality (ASQ). He holds ASQ certifications as manager of quality/operational excellence, quality auditor, and continuous improvement associate. Napoletano has been a member of the Binghamton section of ASQ since 1980 and has held the office of chair, vice chair, and treasurer. He has worked as quality manager in several industries including electronics, metals fabrication, plastics injection molding, and fabrication of gasket and flooring materials.
The customer is always right. Everything we are taught about customer satisfaction is intended to keep us focused on this one principle, and we need to keep this in mind whenever we deal with the customer. Everybody’s business revolves around a customer base, whether we are a service company or a manufacturer.
In the U.S. marketplace we continue to move toward a service-sector base and away from manufacturing. Because of this change, one would think it would be even more important that our first priority would be to make the customer happy. This isn’t a new idea. Harry G. Selfridge of the department store Selfridges in London, England, coined the phrase, “The customer is always right” in the early 1900s. Most companies believe and promote this thinking; keeping employees focused on the fact that unsatisfied customers do not come back and may even discourage others from becoming customers.
Let me set the record straight before proceeding: Customers are not right when they are dishonest, pursuing an illegal outcome, or acting in an immoral way. I am talking about customers who are being fair about what they expect, which is within the realm of the business model you are working in.
Customer satisfaction begins with knowing what the customer wants. To satisfy that statement, we must also believe that the customer is always right. Who are we to tell the customer what they want?
Not everyone sees it this way. Although it seems unlikely, there are successful companies that do not put the customer first. I worked for a company where the CEO did not believe that the customer was always right. After a little research, I found that he was not the odd man out. Other companies don’t always put the customer first and are proud of it. Examples include Herb Kelleher, past CEO of Southwest Airlines; and Hal Rosenbluth, CEO of Rosenbluth International, a corporate travel agency; and ServiceGruppen, a Danish IT company.
In Kelleher’s book, Nuts! Southwest Airlines' Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success(Crown Business, 1998), he is plain about his feelings: The employee comes first even at the cost of losing a customer. The title of Rosenbluth’s book says it all:Put the Customer Second: Put Your People First and Watch ’Em Kick Butt. (HarperBusiness, 2002) And ServiceGruppen is proud of the fact that it dropped a customer who was rude to an employee. These are just a few examples of business leaders who put the employee first, dismissing “bad customers” and siding with the employee.
We have all gotten that call from an unhappy customer, and a lot of thoughts run through our minds: “What a jerk,” “Why does he have to be so unreasonable,” or even, “What did we do wrong this time?” Sometimes we think our customers’ expectations are too unreasonable. But think about it: Aren’t they only trying to get what they need or want? Is it unreasonable that they call to tell us the product doesn’t do what they expected? Maybe you’ve gotten an e-mail with photos of workmanship that didn’t meet the customers’ standard. Maybe they never told you what the standard was. Those customers are still right because it is our responsibility to understand what they want before we commit to any agreement. If customers haven’t given us a standard against which they are going to compare our work, it is our responsibility to ask them for it.
In a retail setting, the customer service desk has to deal with customers who have clothing that doesn’t fit or turns out to be the wrong size. Maybe the customer finds a defect after she gets the product home. Isn’t the customer right here, too?
How about complaints in the service sector? The food is too cold! The line is too long! Why doesn’t your airline serve snacks anymore? Our training and common sense should bring us back to a way of thinking that, no matter what, we must treat customers as if they are always right. In some cases they just need a little help to get the best solution. We might need to redirect them to something more appropriate for their needs. They may not know even know what they need, and it’s up to us to help them find it. Perhaps we don’t even provide what they need; we may need to point the customer to an alternate provider (yes, the competition).
Righting the wrong is not always easy. Whether it’s our fault or not, we need to show an effort to help correct the situation. It’s always some form of corrective action, making sure to capture the situation so it can be reviewed to possibly preempt a future situation. This includes fixing or replacing the product or service—once the requirements are clear. If the problem is caused by an issue beyond your control (e.g., bad weather closes the runways at the destination), you will need to help the customer deal with the delay. Airlines used to provide a room, meals, and a toiletry kit when this happened. They don’t do that anymore, but that doesn’t mean they can’t assist in getting those things for their customers. The key here is to work with the customer to get an agreeable resolution. Communication—what you are and are not authorized to do—usually helps. A little empathy always helps, too. Think about how you would like to be treated.
Doesn’t it feel better having helped the customer out than to lose him by not putting him first? I believe that in those cases the customer will remember that you helped him by directing him toward a solution. In all of these cases we could actually gain a higher level of customer satisfaction by working with customers and providing a better solution than they had originally chosen. The customer is always right.
Southwest Airlines and the other companies I cited make no excuses for not acknowledging that the customer is always right. They think their success is solely based on putting their employees first. That way they don’t have to deal with the tough customer. Certainly there is a lot of merit in treating your employees right. After all, they are your most valuable assets. But they do not pay the bills. The best way to treat both your employees and customers right is give your employees the tools to always be able to treat your customers with respect and enthusiasm. That’s a win/win. Happy employees, who know how to treat even the tough customers and keep them happy. In turn, the happy customer not only comes back but also becomes a spokesperson—telling others to do business with your great company. Satisfied customers become your most valuable advocate.
Clark Howard, a financial wizard making his first million before he was 30, has his own show on HLN every weekend. He is a consumer advocate, helping his audience avoid pitfalls in the financial world. He works at helping the “customer” make good choices and promotes the thinking that the customer is always right.
LL Bean, outfitter extraordinaire, has had a standing policy that if a product you buy ever fails they will replace it–free. (http://www.llbean.com/customerService/aboutLLBean/guaranteed_popup.html). That is the best “the customer is always right” policy you could ever have. Those waders that sat in the barn for 40 years, accumulating mouse nests, mildew, and who knows what else, ripped when you tried to put them on. Return them no questions asked and you will get a suitable replacement.
Fast food chains, maybe where the customer is the toughest, believe the customer is always right. “Special orders don’t upset us.” This was the mantra for one, and now they all offer customers the opportunity to deviate from the posted menu. (By the way, if you Google this saying, you will get more than 2.5 million hits, many from other companies that have adopted this mantra.) Why? Because the customer is always right, and she pays the bills and provides the profit.
I know that the customer is always right. Keeping this policy at the front of any business will certainly help with your success.