Dan Kennedy always says “it’s not always about the customer;it’s about the service” and today I humbly agree. When you are starting out, there’s always the notion that you are building a big world class business. At least that’s what is said in your head. Sometimes we are totally delusional about that and since customer service is not taught in school and colleges as well as in the University of Hardknocks, you are often given the feeling that it’s a nice set of information from a book. So we read a lot of stuff.
Customers are the live wire of any business and whether you are an online company or a brick and mortar entity how you treat your customer is always essential to the your bottom-line. Lately I have been having a hot air moment with one of my website host providers.
Ya see, I got those sticking personality and I don’t jump often. My phone number I got for 10 years, my tax guy for 8 years and hosting company pushing a bit over 6 years. I just don’t like jumping, but when I get rub wrong, I shout so loud that I can instantly create a bit of a stir. I think when we are dealing with brand loyalty and customer service, we have to validate the customer experience and do some measurements.
‘People got feelings’ and when they are constantly treated badly, I can honestly say, they will walk away and tell their friends and friends-friend and the story is easy to catch up on the street. We have to know that early. I must admit that too many people build their business like a just-come painter who focuses on the paint and windows and forget the essential primer and base coats.
Business got roots, foundation and values. Customer service is one of those root columns. Not everyone can be Zapoos to woo and wow but eVERYONE can be human and treat people with respect. I recently had a run in with Network Solution, the little hosting company in Virginia. Their automatic renewal, customer follow up and follow through were just getting less than average. I called repeatedly and voiced my concern, noted my need for better service and the like. I was promised same but the slippage continued. My lawyer was shooting for a day in court and a slap on their risk, I was aiming for a better experience and quality but they were not stepping up.
It got to a head way when I permanently lost a domain and all the files associated with it. Was I upset, yes, big time. I called and I voiced my concern and then I took to the web –fB and twitter but I had my fair share. With the FB comments and twittes, I got executive treatment. A call from the executive suites and an apology, I took that as a hope for the better but the problems continued and the slippage increased. I decided this time, I will honor the wishes of my attorney, we will head to the bars and make our claims. I ranted once more- FB and twitter and then again more executives showed up. More apologies, more promises and more moons and stars are coming down but this time I had my throat full, I waited one day too much and I was not gonna recant. This time, I let the executive know that I am not backing down and I am tired of their crappy service. If you are charging me and I am paying, I needed quality.
This little lesson opened my eyes of the danger of Brand Loyalty. Sometimes it’s good to be a jumping frog. Sometimes you get better services when you move from one train to the next. They might not be that much passengers there and the baggage might be less. But the true value of this lesson is one in customer service.
Nothing can break a business faster than poor services to the customers. People got their own stuff going on and don’t add to their plate your crappy service. Sometimes it’s better farming off your customer service but other times, you need to have a better system of dealing with customer problems.
The day I started to rant on Network Solution fan page, I was surprise that not only that I found people ranting about their experience but the very same problem I had others had. This is when you have to check the system.
Systemic problems are not easily addressed through farm out servie or outsourced contractors. You are the owner of the company, you are the one people expect to deliver. Your contractors can do a great job of being there for technical stuff but when there is dis-satisfaction, I know that they will not take all the bite for you. You have to build your customer experience on some good foundations worth sharing.
These are the foundations that will always stand out:
KNOW- ing: People have a particular reason why they prefer name brand stores over the no name or “off brand” ones. Why they wear name brand clothes over the vintage pieces from Johnny-come-lately. Its because they know the name and reputation that stands along the popular brand name. When we are building an online business we have to tell ourselves daily that people are getting to know me more and I need to give them an experience worth sharing.
LIKE- as the father of sons only I know what is JOURNEY footwear and Disney KUtS barber chain. They kids love them and always wanted to go back. They look forward to their next appointment. Not because of the cost but the experience. WE need to build our customers base on an experience of LIKABILITY. The saying is still true, “all things being equal, people will always buy from someone they like.” They social media, online voting and reputations company’s all know this and so should you . Make your customer like you by giving them a great experience.
TRUST- You Know I cannot trust my hosting company. They have let me down once too many. They have failed to honor their word and I am totally ready to go ham on them. Trust is the ability to communicate with your client honesty and sincerity. You might be a small fly on the wall but a spider is looking at you. You just have to be true to your word, have above board intergrity and stand for something. It’s not the amount of money you charge, it’s the standards you deliver that mattes. We will always like those companies who do that.
Author Bio: Nigel Williamson is a youth development specialist, author, success coach, and education expert. Known as “The Bounce Back King,” he’s the author to Life’s Ultimate Ticket, Secrets to Study at US colleges and Universities, and the creator of the Scholarship Secrets Toolkit, an student scholarship guide program for International Students wishing to study in the US. For more information, or to contact Nigel, please visit http://www.