I was talking to a roomful of business owners today about ‘Growing your business through your customers and better service’ and during the presentation we talked about a the changing nature of doing business and a number of reasons of why customers leave. According to my research, one of the main reasons that customers leave is not due to price and quality issues as many companies think but due to poor service or a perceived indifference on the part of the companies to their customers ie. their customers didn’t think they cared enough about doing business with them.
In order to manage this I suggested that businesses you should pay more attention to their customers and build better relationships with them if they wanted them to stick around for longer.
Then, someone spoke up and said that whilst they understood the reasons why they should be building better relationships with their customers they didn’t quite get ‘how they could do it. I said that the ‘how’ would depend on a number of factors including their type of business, their customers, and the sort of relationship that they wanted to build.
However, I did say that I believe that if every business was to go back to basics, the ABC’s of building relationships, when it comes to service and operate under some simple principles then, I wager, they would see a marked improvement in service levels and customer retention and loyalty.
Those principles are
- Be more courteous/polite towards each other and your customers. I think there is truth in the saying ‘Manners maketh the man’ and that we all like to treated with courtesy and politeness. Even in the age of the ‘Me’ generation this type of treatment still stands out. Also, it’d make your Mum proud.
- Give everyone your respect. Whether someone is your customer, a potential customer, a team mate, superior or sub-ordinate giving someone your respect is one of the highest honours that, I believe, you can give someone and it can bring out the best in them.
- Do the things that you say you will do when you say you will do them. I think we all like reliability and trustworthiness. Even if that means saying you will call back and you can only do so with bad news. At least, the person that you are calling knows where they stand. In the absence of other information the mind can do funny things and can tend to make stuff up like you forgot about them or you don’t care enough about them to call back.
- Be more punctual. This is quite a personal one but one that I think deserves a mention as time is one of the things that seems to be becoming more and more precious so respecting someone’s time and making sure something happens when it is supposed to can speak volumes about how much you care and respect the other person’s time.
- Be honest. Finally, I believe that most people just want others to be straight with them. Trust us and tell us the truth. Most of the time we can handle it. Even if we can’t handle it or it upsets us we”ll respect you for being honest with us.
So, if every business, or maybe just even the ones that care enough to make a difference, made even a 10% improvement in the areas that I mentioned above then I believe that would put them head and shoulders above most of their competitors.
In this age of austerity, we are all looking for that edge and our people and how they interact with, deal with, communicate with, engage with each other and our customers are our greatest source of competitive advantage.
What do you think? Am I crazy? Or, could this work?
Thanks to hisks for the image.