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In the early days of
, my event tech company, I landed my first two customers and prototyped cell phone charging stations for their events.
Spoiler alert: It didn’t go well.
Both units had issues, but I was determined to do whatever it took to make those first events a success and fix the units.
That’s been my goal since day one:
Recently a business acquaintance pointed out that a company’s motto is meaningless unless they’ve put money behind it. That’s another way to say, “actions speak louder than words.” But what does that really mean?
Here are four customer service goals you can implement to put your money where your mouth is and keep your customers happy.
1. Be available.
In our automated day and age, nothing is more frustrating than trying to get ahold of a customer service rep when you have an issue.
Hey, I get it. As a CEO, you have a bottom line to meet. Hiring good, qualified people costs way more than an FAQ page, but here’s where the rubber meets the road. You have to ask: What’s better for the customer? What would I want when I picked up the phone?
That’s why we offer 24/7 support for our customers. If something goes awry, our people are there. Sometimes a phone call isn’t enough and you need someone on site to troubleshoot an issue. Train technicians on your products so that in-person help is never more than a couple of hours away.
2. Be responsible.
When you’re throwing an event, you’re under a lot of pressure. There’s been so much leading up to this moment. If you’ve rented or purchased a product, it needs to be working perfectly. If it’s not, what happens?
One of the worst events of my life happened a few years ago. The units arrived on time, they looked great and I was feeling good — until I plugged them in and saw the screens glitch. My stomach dropped, and I went into crisis mode. The next 12 hours were pure hell: calling manufacturers, dismantling the units, driving for parts at 4:00 a.m. and managing the customer’s frustration. In the end, I couldn’t get the broken part in time and had to rebuild the unit as best I could.
I felt terrible, but I knew I’d done everything possible to make it right. To my surprise, we got their business again. The sponsor saw how hard we worked and that spoke louder than the catastrophe.
As a business, inevitably, something will go wrong. Maybe you messed up, maybe someone else did. So, what do you do when the ball is dropped? Whether it’s your fault or not, take responsibility. Show the customer that you have their back.
3. Be surprising.
Nothing makes me happier than surprising our customers. Don’t worry, I’m not hiding behind doors to scare them (looking at you, Ellen). I’m driving all night to deliver a phone charging station when a rush order is placed. I’m hopping on a flight when an emergency comes up. I’m delivering painless refunds when someone isn’t satisfied. I’m offering lifetime warranties for our units with no fine print.
Consumers are used to having to be sneaky with companies. When you listen, treat them with respect and make things right, they’re floored.
A study by NewVoiceMedia found that after a positive experience with a company, 70% of customers would be more loyal, 65% would recommend it to others and 40% would spend more money with them. True customer service costs, but it also pays. Surprise your customers at how far you’ll go to make them happy, and you’ll keep them for life.
4. Be human.
Underlying all these goals is a basic philosophy: Remember that your customers are human beings. Treat them well, and they will treat you well.
I remember being at an event when our customer had a crisis. Someone on their team messed up and hundreds of SWAG boxes hadn’t been packaged. So, I sat down and helped them for a few hours. Was it my problem? No. Was I paid? No. Was this my customer that needed some help? Yes.
These ideas aren’t business hacks. They’re not strategic or cheap. They require commitment and investment. But for me, I want to be able to sleep at night knowing that my company is treating people well. Maybe my company won’t change the world, but at least in our little corner, we can do whatever it takes to make our customers as happy as we can. And maybe you can, too.
December 28, 2018 at 08:11AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs