I got an interesting email from someone the other day, they were talking about their business and how they get fantastic unsolicited feedback from people that buy from them. They give great customer service and have a great relationship with their customers. But the truth is, cash flow is tight, and things aren’t great. My question for you is, is good customer service enough?
See, I think there’s a little bit of a myth in business, that if you’ve got great service, everything else will look after itself. It’s variation on the old “Build a better mousetrap and the world will be a path to your door” mythology. See, great customer service is all well and good, but we all know that there are companies that do less than stellar performances and still seem to move forward.
The way I see this is, superior customer service is one of the fundamentals of the game, just like great marketing is also a fundamental. It’s not enough to say the people are so much in love with the service that you provide, that they will automatically come back. It’s a dangerous assumption.
We all have fickle experiences with services being poor once, but still end up coming back for more. And although customer loyalty may be at its lowest ebb ever in the history of business, there is also an overwhelming desire for convenience in this day and age. Remember that every time someone changes providers, suppliers, there’s a cost to pay, the cost of the unknown, the cost of time to invest in finding someone new, the cost of new decisions and choices to be made. Sometimes it’s easy to just stick with the devil you know. Yeah, I know it’s not a great picture I’m painting out for service, but the truth is, people can get away with a lot more than they think. Do use that to vindicate your current standards? Service is not necessarily the number one driver of repeat business that you may always assume it is.
Where this is particularly disappointing is when you see people winning small business awards. They’ve thrown a lot of personal exertion and time into building fantastic relationships with people. Time and time again I’ve seen it that these businesses still shut down or they fail to sell later on because they’re just not making enough money to be worthwhile. What looks great in a local paper or on a website doesn’t necessarily translate to the profit and loss statement.
The unfortunate truth is, that great service does not equal great cash flow or great profit. So it’s not enough to look at your business from a perspective of build it and they will come. You need to be looking at actively marketing and promoting your business. To reinforce the existing value you deliver to your current customer base to remind them of what you offer. You also need to constantly drive to find new customers to replace those that inevitably will leave your business.
By all means, focus on fantastic service but not to the detriment of constantly promoting and marketing to grow your business.
Article by – Steve Smit – Reality Consulting