Customer Service – The most common response to “What is your differentiator?”
Have you ever asked the question of someone “What is your differentiator?” Perhaps trying to understand their Unique Selling Point or Value Proposition?
Have they ever said “I offer a better Customer Service”?
When I ask this question now, I even pre-load my question so that if the reply is likey to be just “Customer Service” then I ask them to please tell me the real reason why it differentiates them against their competitors.
In my view, Customer Service, as a statement, is not strong enough on its own and I believe that if a business owner can not tell me how their service truly differentiates, then I feel that they don’t believe that it really does.
Often I find myself in child mode asking “Why?” and then “Why?” again and again, to continually drill down to the real differentiator that is unique to that business and to the point that creates the true value in the eyes of those likely to buy the produce or service.
If we look at Customer Service, in my view it is about a leaders vision based on true feedback and personal accountability of the team, supported by a series of planned and systemised activities in your business that ensures that you deliver high levels of satisfaction and exceed the expectations of your customer at every touch point.
It is far too easy to get this wrong by NOT listening to your customers, NOT doing your research and doing what you think they want.
Your customer service activities should match your customer journey and consider the touch points before, during and after a purchase.
It is just as important to consider your service delivery whether you sell a product or if you offer a service.
I would suggest that you need to consider your communication and interaction for every likely occasion your prospect or customer touches your business. Then consider what you have to do to ensure that the customer experience is exceptional, every single time, with an operational excellence that just blows people away.
Let’s not forget, that every time a customer interacts with your business you have the opportunity to continually improve your reputation with them and a delighted customer often tells others.
Service is very much a personal thing, so not one service approach will be fit for all. A positive experience will be more important to some customers than others. Can you segment your customers and identify possible different expectations for different customer groups?
It may also be that the service experience is expected at different stages of their journey with you. For example on placing the order it may be a different expectation than when they receive the delivery.
The importance of great service
Excellent service delivery can be more important in some businesses than others and will vary according to your industry. However, one common ‘fact’ for all businesses is that your customer service will influence your sales and marketing success. A positive reputation certainly helps and people will check you out, even mystery shop you, when thinking about purchasing from you.
Online businesses will not need the face to face positive contact, but will need order efficiency, after sales care, complaint handling, effective delivery channels. A retailer will have the face to face contact expectation, but how good is the telephone manner of your staff if a customer calls before visiting and what is the returns policy?
Customer service will be more important in some employees roles than others, however every role in the business should have a customer service focus. Receptionists, sales staff and any role meeting the customer is obvious to us that we should train these people in exceptional customer service delivery. However what about the person who cleans the floors, arranges the distribution of goods on time, manages the web site or cooks the most fantastic meal? Without them your customer service and reputation will suffer.
There is certainly value created by giving focus to your service. Customers will pay more, or return to buy more often, if they receive a level of service that meets or exceeds their expectations.
Is your Customer Service exceptional?
Does the leadership demonstrate this? Does your culture breathe customer service? Do your systems support the individuals attitude? Is every touch point considered? Do your customers agree?
I hope you found this article thought provoking and I wish you every success with the development of your business.
Customer service is often one area that is ‘top of mind’ for business owners and a common theme for my support visits. You can read more about my support offering at https://entrepreneursmentor.co.uk/mentoring/