I received the following thoughts from a friend of mine who is also a CEO and has been experiencing his own customer service frustrations!
It always puzzles me when dealing with a company or service provider that has a well oiled machine when it comes to winning customer business and yet has very little programs or processes in place for keeping it.
Most businesses seem to be aware of the competition they face from a selling perspective. As such (and rightly so) they focus their efforts towards marketing programs and sales pitches with the objective of creating differentiation and a unique brand. If they do this well, they ultimately book business and, if they’ve really done their planning right, they even have processes and systems in place to deliver their products and services on schedule.
So why am I puzzled? Time and time again I deal with organizations that completely fall down when it comes to after sales service which, ultimately leads to customer retention or loss. The general rule of thumb has often been that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients. Even if the ratio varies from industry to industry, why wouldn’t you put as much or more effort into your processes and procedures to service the customer? I realize that this is Business 101 stuff but I continue to experience poor after sales service.
1) Put well oiled service and retention programs in place
2) Pro-actively communicate with the customer (service status, problem issues, satisfaction, new services and products)
3) Assemble a “Customer Council” and meet on a scheduled basis to discuss your business and their service needs
4) Listen to their feedback!!!
5) Hire individuals with great organization and communication skills
6) Educate and train your staff on your customer service programs.
It takes months to gain a customer and only seconds to lose them…so do something about it!!!