I was thinking about you recently because I’ve been having some customer service issues with a local business. This business provides a hybrid product and service, which I know so many of you do. You have your 1:1 service, but then there’s usually some sort of deliverable that goes along – a website, workbook, training manual.
You think that the only thing that matters is the deliverable.
After all, that’s what you’re being paid to provide.
I’m here to say that you’re wrong.
There’s many people out there that likely do what you do in a broad sense. Other developers that can build a custom website, coaches that can supplement their coaching with their latest workbook and tons of consultants that will get your business planned for you.
The ONE thing that makes your business so special is the service YOU provide.
The emotions that the client feels when they interact with you.
Do they feel confused or frustrated after they talk with you?
Or like they’re the hero in their life story?
It’s called customer service and if you’re a human (and since you’re reading this I know fit in that bucket), you can’t escape providing it.
And here’s the thing that gets bypassed too often, stellar customer service, especially when it’s coming directly from you, is fairly inexpensive to provide.
You can so easily direct a client experience in a very positive or very negative direction, with something as simple a warmly written email or a curt sign-off.
So back to that local business… what went wrong?
When I was being courted to become a client, the staff was super attentive and extra friendly. They responded to emails within 24 business hours, always greeted me with a smile, always asked if I needed anything when they saw me.
This continued for the first few months of the relationship. I felt so cared for, even though, when looking at it transactionally, I was purchasing the product they provide. It really shouldn’t matter how the staff treats me, as long as the facility I purchased access to remains within my needs.
In the last two months, the service level has significantly declined.
Now, it’s a 50-50 chance if an email is returned at all, let alone within the previously-set standard of 24 hours.
When I ask a question and actually get a response, it’s met with a half-hearted one that doesn’t even answer the original question.
A promise made to me months ago still has not been met (even though I’ve asked about it a few times). Hey, I’m understanding and wouldn’t mind if there’s a delay in the member benefit – things happen and project timelines shift. But avoiding the issue completely leaves me wondering if I did something wrong.
I used to tell anyone and everyone in my area to check this place out. I was a total fan and cheerleader. But I’m ashamed to tell people about it now because I would hate for someone else to experience this poor level of service and associate it with me.
And I’m questioning if I even need to be a client of this local small business.
Think about how ridiculously simple it would be to win me back – acknowledge the lack of communication and how it will be better moving forward. It could be done via email, phone or in-person.
There’s so many options available. But the key is that the communication actually needs to happen.
Here’s an example of the super simple, yet generous email that could be sent.
Thank you so much for reaching out about your experience as a member of our business as of late.
We want to apologize for the lack of communication and care you’ve received.
This is not how we want our members to feel. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of why we started this business a few years back.
Thank you again for bringing this to our attention. We hope you’ll give us another chance to make things right.
Sally and Mark
That’s all it would take for me to go from ho-hum and disappointed to satisfied and delighted in my purchasing decision again.
Keep customer service top of mind and I promise you will build a list of repeat clients and raving fans, those that will not hesitate to pass along your name and do the advertising for you.
Remember, humans like to be helpful to one another, so pointing someone in the right direction when they’re stuck in a problem make us feel good. But we’re also just as likely to pass along our input to help someone avoid a particular situation too.
Ok, that’s what I have for you this week. What do you think – ready to try it? already ready doing this? Let me know in the comments below. Can’t wait to hear from you!
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