. High-quality customer service is essential to a growing or establishing a  company’s bottom line—a Virtuous Circle that drives profits and allows companies to compete against rivals with more funding and resources in their pocket.

1. How do you want people to remember you?

Did you know that 97% of customers will not tell you why they left, and of the 3% women will tell 10-20 people and men will tell 8-16.  You don’t know who is telling what to whom. Your reputation is out there long after the product or service is used.  I had a bad experience with a restaurant. The owner could have fixed it but chose not to.  I have told my experience to others who asked about the restaurant.The flip side is how many people do we tell about great experiences?  Customers tend to remember their poor customer service experiences more than their positive ones, meaning a bad image is harder to shift. Ruby Newell-Legner, author of Understanding Customers, asserts that 12 positive experiences are necessary to make up for just one unresolved negative one. Therefore, you need to get it right (and often).

2. It’s a statement about your business.

Your customer service reflects on your entire business. Rightly or wrongly, people assume that if your customer service is good or bad then your product or service is too. As a business owner, you should adopt the same attitude, devoting time and money to your support team just as you would your product or sales. Does everyone know how to answer questions, or deal with complaints?  Is your staff trained? There is a home health service Guardian Angels that truly understands customer service and has a well trained staff. Their case manager Nellie was in constant contact with the patient until the problem was solved.  It took 2 days and she was persistent.  That is hiring the right people, training them correctly and making sure they are rewarded and recognized for what they do.

3. People like to feel cared for.

Your customers are living, breathing, emotive beings, not automatons, so play to their emotions. If you treat customers with genuine courtesy and respect, they’re far more likely to invest their faith in your business.  This includes your employees. Allied bank had a great commercial about giving benefits to new customers and ignoring current ones.  They used kids and ice cream to show the example.  Show the customers who have been loyal how much you appreciate them. If you want ideas read Zombie Loyalists by Peter Shankman especially the story about Morton’s and the Bodega

4. It makes everyone’s lives easier.

If you reduce the effort it takes for customers to get in touch with you, you’re simultaneously making it easier for them to purchase from you. Teach your customers how to use your product in simple language with easy to understand diagrams.  Show them how to style what they bought. (this is also up selling). Have an FAQ page. Don’t make your phone number impossible to find. Place interaction opportunities directly into their hands and you’ll ultimately guide them from interaction to purchase.

5. It’s a profitable marketing strategy.

Word-of-mouth is the holy grail of marketing. When your customers speak favorably and widely about your business, they do more than most A+ marketing teams can. Advertising your company’s customer satisfaction standards is an excellent way to start the trend. Use customer testimonials and happiness ratings to show leads just how much you do for your client base—this carries weight that unsubstantiated assertions cannot. Plus, if you can get your customers singing your praises of their own accord, you’re closing in on the gold mine. We all read reviews. Think how they impact your decisions to buy or not

6. There are always alternatives.

Undervaluing customer service is a risky strategy because there’s always a competitor who’s doing the opposite. An American Express survey found that a staggering 78% of consumers have backed out of a transaction or failed to make an intended purchase because of sub-par customer service. It’s a global marketplace, and if you don’t have the tools in place to make doing business with your business easy then “so long” for now.  You are rarely if ever the only game in town. Make sure your business, you and your staff are welcoming to customers and offer what they are seeking and they are getting value.

7. It directly affects repeat business

Keeping hold of current customers costs considerably less than attracting new ones. Retention matters—big time. On average, loyal customers are worth up to ten time as much as their first purchase, but that worth won’t pan out unless you prioritize customer success. If you’re a service-based operation, consider the costs—money, time, and more—of on-boarding new clients. An experienced client who sticks with you means reduced efforts for you in the long run. Plus they tell 2 friends and so on and so on and their referral means more and makes it easier to increase sales

8. It impacts conversion rates.

How many inquiries have you  been unable to convert because the first contact couldn’t give the information, wasn’t engaging didn’t ask the right questions, didn’t know how to sell and didn’t follow-up? Converting someone from consideration to commitment is a careful balancing act that’s eased along with good customer service.

Stand out in your field. Be known for addressing the needs of your customer. Listen to what they want and need and help them get it. Then follow up to make sure they are satisfied and bring them back over and over.