I have been told, no matter your business, the defining decision a customer or client makes in determining whether to purchase from you or your competition, comes down to one single element: service – the overall experience and delight of dealing with your company.
Let’s face it, the price tag of the purchase determines whether customer service is a factor or have a big an impact it, makes on the decision. We all have to buying groceries so convenience can out weight the fact that a store doesn’t provide customer service. Great customer service won’t make a difference if you have a limited budget and you don’t expect to need help with set up or troubleshooting.
An article in Fortune stated that great customer service had no impact on business or stock value. The companies with the worst reputation for customer service traded at higher stock values. Those trading stocks didn’t care about the company’s reputation for customer service and the worst ones in the study had the highest value. Go figure!
Should you determine your position about customer service on the opinion of stock traders?
Considering that one unhappy customer can start a Facebook page and get 10s of thousands of likes to boycott your company, would you change your mind? A Facebook page was launched about Spirit Airlines refusing to refund a non-refundable ticket to a terminal cancer patient. This social media tool changed Spirit Airlines mind. They refunded the patient.
The impact of a social assault spreading the word of a poor business decision can have economic impact that many companies cannot weather as well as a company trading on the stock exchange. It is easier to weigh the fiscal impact of publicity than guessing whether it will improve your company stock value.
Customer service experience is a critical part of your marketing plan, but few companies give it the time and training it deserves, preferring to "wing it," leaving it as an intangible line item. Establishing a gold standard benchmark of service to live up to and building it into company culture, employee evaluation and recognition can be the foundation of a memorable marketing campaign. Allstate’s brand recognition is the cornerstone of its marketing campaign and made its tag line recognizable to many generations, “You’re in good hands”.
Does your company have a gold standard benchmark of service to live up to?
If not, then choose an experience from a company that really amazed you … an experience that turned you into one of their brand ambassadors. If you’re the business owner, reach back into your memory. Why did you start your company? For most of us, we started it because of our experience working for someone else and having a desire to do it better.
If you don't have a company to emulate or an experience to relate to as a gold standard of service, then start here: The Ritz Carlton Gold Standard may be all you'll ever need! http://corporate.ritzcarlton.com/en/About/GoldStandards.htm#credo
Customer experience translates into brand experience. Making customer experience a tangible part of your online and offline marketing strategy is easy. Your employees who have daily contact with customers are an invaluable source of information. Ask for their ideas on creating an unforgettable experience. They will be executing it and they will provide ideas that they would be willing to do.
There are many companies making national business news for the defining way they treat their customers. Businesses that focus on the experience are winning the battles by offering things that we take for granted every day. Company size is not a factor. We call it the "Wow Factor" - the experiences, the cordialities, going beyond expectations - all of the things on paper that you can't count, but in the end, really do count.