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WHY IS YOUR BUSINESS FAILING?
As Warren Buffet once said, “When the tide goes out, you see who’s not wearing a bathing suit.” Do you feel the tide going out on your business? Why do some shops prosper and others fail?
And just as the tide goes out slowly, our customer’s expiations are slowly changing. It is our job as owners and managers to recognize these slow changes and not be lulled into believing that “because we have always done it that way” is the way it should be today.
When you look closely one thing is clear, business failures share common characteristics, and the companies that fail are the ones who don’t believe that the rules apply to them. So let’s take a look at one of the most common reasons that companies fail.
The battle for repeat business is critical to the long term success of any company in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace. Customer service is not just a competitive edge. In the appliance industry it is THE competitive edge. Customer Service is the new standard by which customers judge the performance of your company. Your customer’s decision to return to your business in the future will depend on the customer service you offer them today.
One of the biggest problems in maintaining great customer service is the reluctance of owners and managers to look at customer service in real time. Too many owners and managers have a status quo attitude about customer service. They allow themselves and their staff the freedom to approach customer service without written guidelines and the benefit of updated training.
Owners and managers also fail to realize that resent studies prove that excellent customer service adds more to the bottom line by increasing volume and profit than any other form of marketing. Once management loses the passion for developing and maintaining superior customer service in the workplace, trouble lies ahead.
Electrical Contractor magazine says, “In our service oriented society, the quality of customer service has become more significant to a company’s success than the quality of the product. And, those companies that lead the way in customer service excellence will have a powerful competitive advantage over those who lag behind.”
In order for a company to excel at customer service and gain a competitive edge over their competition, management must not only believe in great customer service but must make the commitment to it. This commitment is vital to the success of an excellent customer service program. Top management must believe in up to date personal, helpful customer service as strongly as it believes in family values and patriotism.
Management must also dedicate adequate funding to the program. Funding is needed to support employee training to update their skills in handling customer service issues, especially front line employees. All employees must know and believe that their attitude affects the customer’s perception of the quality of the service offered and that management considers their customer’s perception top priority.
Funding is also needed to upgrade and maintain the company’s phone systems, computers and data base programs, which together enables employees to offer great customer service. Last but not least, funding is needed for dues and subscriptions to industry associations and periodicals. The aforementioned are wonderful tools to help keep management and employees abreast of current trends.
Setting your company apart by becoming a Certified Service Center is telling your customer and your employees that you, the ownership and management, have made the commitment to excellence through customer service. Because this type of marketing strategy is the most effective means to increasing your bottom line, you can also be sure that it will give your company a long term competitive advantage over your competition and will keep you from feeling naked when the tide goes out.
So what is customer service? Well to sum it up, great customer service is not a department. Great customer service is an attitude.
By Ralph Wolff, Industry Relations, PSA
Certified Service Center