It is with a heavy heart that I write this blog post – yes, I have just had this misfortune to cross paths with a business that is strongly in need of a defibrillator at its heart – its customer service.
A business without a heartbeat that provides quality blood flow to its customers is a failing business. When the blood flow stops, as in our bodies, the extremities begin to fail, to die off, signs of life, us, the customer begins to disappear.
So many successful businesses recognise that the customer has always been and always will be 'King'. It's been an institutional phrase for describing the main principles for good customer service for decades.
So what keeps the blood flowing, the vital signs of life that provide support and encouragement for customers. The signs of energy and enthusiasm that spreads like a welcome vaccine?
Communication is key!
Many businesses hit stumbling blocks, the most important and vital action is not to 'wing it' – it's to treat customers with respect. It's not good enough in today's 'dog eat dog' competitive climate to expect customers to just accept the unreliable service sometimes given , to accept fluctuations in service levels without question, to accept that what you promise is not what they will expect and indeed to just take their money for an agreed service which is a contract and then renege without a word.
There are many reasons why a business may cease providing level of service for its customers but how we ensure that the
blood still flows during difficult times?
We need to look at internal communication. Let us say for instance the system used for picking orders in a warehouse fails. What should happen? One of the most important actions is to keep customers updated. A business decision should be made to direct Customer Service to inform all customers that there is a problem. It's not acceptable to have potentially 1000s of customers sat at home waiting for deliveries when you are fully aware they haven't been processed, spending hours trying to contact customer services to find where their order is only to be met with pre recorded messages that start with 'due to unprecedented demand' …..
To relay communication is relaying respect, relayed respect earns mutual respect and loyalty. Once the business commits to good relations and installs a heart beat again in Customer Services which in turn relays that vital flow of communication to its customers then confidence will return…. but left too late the phrase 'The King is Dead, Long Live the King' seems quite poignant. Where one business dies, another one will appear and do it ten times better off the back of another's misfortune.
Keep the heartbeat strong!