I am more of the opinion that the way to keep customer and grow your market share will revolve on how you treat both current and potential customers. It would seem that during the holiday season this notion becomes clearer to me. Unfortunately during the holiday months companies hire more seasonal workers and the quality of customer care (mostly in retail) plummets.
I recently wrote a blog on how to lose a valued customer. The reality is that all customers past and present are important to the company and its branding. I had an experience with a new vendor that has solidified what I am talking about.
On the phone, the receptionist was friendly and helpful. It even sounded like they were smiling when they were talking to me. When I arrived at the vendors location I was practically met at the door, offered something to drink, and was handed a series of forms that I had to complete. Every step of the way the staff of the vendor greeted me with a friendly and welcoming smile and hello. The vendor thoroughly explained their process and payment options as well as the solutions to the issue I needed resolved. Not only did they take the time to tell me about their organization and how they operated, but they also took time to learn about who I was. Asking about my business, schooling and other personal facts that would build a deeper relationship with them. When I left, I felt like I had met new friends that really cared about me and the needs I held. While this is all great… it got better. 24 hours later I received an email welcoming me to the vendor’s family (classy) and then I received a satisfaction survey.
If I am going to invest my money in a process, I want to know my vendors are invested in me. That they see me for a long-term client and not just a means to an end. Over my 20 plus years in the corporate world, I have only fired three companies for really messing up the customer service side of things. The reason I left them culminated in their presentation that they cared more about the money than the relationship. Relationships should never be taken lightly. There are too many options in this world to chase the dollar over the relationship.
Ask yourself… how would my company rank on the relationship vs money scale. Maybe it is time to ask your most valued resource – your customers how well you are doing. I warn you though – you may not always like what you hear. But as a friend and colleague said to me recently – knowing where things are broken is a gift.
Philip A Foster, MA is Founder/CEO of Maximum Change Inc. Elevating leaders and their organizations to the next level since 2005. Master Certified Coach, Philip A Foster, MA and his associates facilitate effective positive change by helping organizations, leaders and individuals in high demand — design and implement strategies that maximize focus and deliver results. Specializing in Organization and Strategic Leadership.