You may recently have heard the phrase “Customer service is the new black” and wondered “Really? What is new about the need for good customer service?” Today we live in a “Time is Money” world where the rapid advancements in technology and the ability to accomplish a lot very quickly often results in very little interaction between the customer and a live, breathing human being. Ours is a world of self-checkouts and automatic voice recognition systems that can do everything from helping you make a payment to explaining how to install a DVR. But when the human element is removed for the sake of high efficiency, the business world may consider good customer service non-essential and out of fashion.
As customers, we too live in a world of revolving task lists and a “Get ‘er done” mentality. But that doesn’t mean that we expect to sacrifice good customer service for efficiency and convenience! And therein lies the puzzle for every business – how do you deliver both? In this era of electronic communication, it’s easy to fall into the mindset that the customer asking for your assistance is just one of the dozens or even hundreds of calls you will take that day. It can be easy to forget that the customer isn’t just one of the calls you have to handle, but is one of the people responsible in keeping the doors to your business open (and ensuring your job) during these difficult financial times.
The internet is a powerful tool for business marketing and communication. This amazing technology has also brought a very powerful voice back to the customer. It used to be that a poor experience at a local business may have resulted in a handful of people learning about the situation and choosing to grace the doorway to the competition down the street. However today, one poor experience may result in a million people instantly learning about that bad experience! The power is firmly in the hands of the customer, so it’s now ‘in fashion’ again to treat your customers well, because if you don’t you will likely feel a real and immediate impact. So every business needs to find the balance of transaction and interaction with their clients. It isn’t enough to simply get something done quickly for the client – it is equally important to create a pleasant experience for them. This “experience” may be the one thing that sets your company apart from the competition ‘down the road’. And it can be the greatest marketing tool in which you will ever invest.
So is customer service really “the new black”? The same way that fashion trends of the past resurface as “new” ideas, good customer service is currently enjoying a resurgence. The voice of the customer is going to be heard. So be fashion forward and stand out from your competitors with great customer service – so when your customers talk about you – and they will – they’ll give only great reviews.
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