By: Lori Ohlmann, Senior Vice President, Account Services
In a downturn economy, increased competition is a given. And companies that are content to sit on yesterday’s glories are going to find the old “what-have-you-done-for-me-today” adage ringing more and more true.
So, what will set apart the successful firms from those that are just getting by? The real difference, as simple as it may sound, is customer service. Not lip service – customer service, a term so often abused today. We have all seen the signs in retail stores that proclaim “Customer Service.” Unfortunately, nine times out of ten, it should read, “When we feel like it, when we get to you, and I am here until 9:00 so I am not in any hurry service.”
The bottom line is, in this high-tech, low-touch world, most companies have forgotten all about the first word, and the most crucial word, in the success of any business. The customer. Let’s face it, that’s what it is all about. Without customers, we have no business, no store, literally, we have nothing. Our customers, and taking care of our customers, are what our business is all about. So how do we take care of customers?
- Let them know that their business is valued.
- They have many options for where and how to spend their money. Say “thank you.”
- Apologize when things don’t go as planned. Sometimes a simple apology is all that is wanted.
- Listen. Don’t interrupt with what you think they should know. Listen to what your customer is telling you.
- Return phone calls in a timely manner. If you don’t, your customer will find someone who will.
At P/O/N, we are in the communications business. And we are proud of the fact that we do not have voicemail. When you call, you will always hear a real person say “hello” and, hopefully, express gratitude that you have chosen to call us.