So the first 17 days of 2013 have already passed and many of us may be assessing how our New Year resolutions are coming along. It would be interesting to know what objectives business leaders in Romania have set for themselves and their colleagues. I’d like to know how many of them are working on improving the levels of service offered to their customers, as a fundamental and very necessary improvement for their companies.
Many may ask, ‘Why should we spend valuable time and resources, in these crisis times, on an intangible like customer service? Who knows what customers regard as good service and even if it is important to them’. The answer of course is that improvements in service, in a market that is notorious for the provision of poor service, are very measurable and have a very favorable impact on a company’s bottom line. In other words, business leaders have to see the trees of customer service in the wood of making profits.
Often, company staff and their middle and senior managers concentrate so hard on squeezing value out of every customer, through special offers and discounts that they forget to pay attention to the customer as a person rather than a sales target. They fail to see their customers as offering long term business partnerships. Instead they chase a one-time deal to record in their monthly sales statistics.
This is a significant mistake in many markets where customers are looking for reliability, security and good value – in other words good service. And a company that can build a solid and long-lasting base of repeat customers generally has a successful and sustainable business.
After all, how difficult is it for everyone in a company engaged in providing products and services to customers (customers being the people who provide the company’s revenue and profits), to spend some time and effort in finding out what those vital customers expectations are? Then, having worked it all out, how difficult is it to make their customers happy enough to keep coming back to spend more money?
Here’s a tip for companies that have started to think more about their customers. Service is what the company feels it should offer – the bare minimum. Good service is what the customer expects and receives from the company – fair enough. Great service is where the company really does its research and its people really make an effort and exceed the customer’s expectations, producing pleasant surprises and pretty certain repeat business. Repeat business equals a strong revenue trend and reduces stress on a company’s marketing effort because the excellent service sells itself.
And also remember, every person in the company that has contact with customers or who is involved in managing the company’s customer interface, is responsible for improvements in service. That’s why improving service has to become a state of mind shared by everyone concerned, it’s the responsibility of each and every one – it’s actually a mini culture.
If a restaurant is much better than you expected and you had a great time there, you go back and you take your friends. It’s not rocket science and everyone knows what we are talking about here – good service – unless they live in a cave and never go out or buy anything.
As a customer, I’m hoping that companies in Romania can work on their service provision and make many transactional aspects of everyday life a pleasure instead of an ordeal.
By Ronnie Smith, Guest Writer
(photo source: sxc.hu)