13 February 2009

Without customers you don’t have a business

A business that is not absolutely committed to its customers is one that is going to get into big trouble somewhere down the line. When times get tough and the customers start to question their relationship with the business, the strength or fragility of this bond will soon become apparent.

When we start our businesses we bend over backwards to meet our customers expectations and exceed them anyway possible. Nothing is too much trouble and the slightest hint of an unhappy customer has us begging for forgiveness (well not quite but you know what I mean I hope).

But over time the business grows. The person who started the business and had such a passion for their customers now spends less time dealing face to face with the customers because they have to their staff and all of the other aspects of running the business. As time goes on, they don’t even leave the back office.

The only time they hear from a customer is when there is a problem so they start to really dislike their customers who seem to do nothing but disturb them with complaints. Anyone in this place needs to change their business or their attitude dramatically.

 Our staff mirror our actions and our attitudes. If we have bad attitudes towards our customers they will pick up on this in a second. I stand in shops waiting to be served and watch the staff. I can tell in a second when the owner has lost their passion for the business and the customers because I can see it and hear it in the voice of their staff.

As the business owner, you are the business barometer. Everyone adjust their mood and their attitude based on yours. Clearly an issue if you are not in a positive, customer service focused state of mind.

Customers are everything to a business. We should all be looking for ways to service them better, to listen to what they need, to build strong relationships and to do whatever we can to make life easier for our customers.

Some businesses seem to go out of their way to make every interaction hard. It’s hard to find the business, then its hard to park, it is cluttered and dirty inside, nothing has a price on it, they have one bored staff member behind the counter and five customers waiting to be served, then when you get to the counter they say that they don’t accept credit cards and so on. More businesses make it hard to buy from them than we realise.

There are many great books, websites and training services that show how to improve your overall level of customer service, however, non of it will work if the person who owns the business isn’t committed to treating their customers as the number one priority every single day of the year.




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