Customer Service Is Not Just a Department



Customer Service is much more than just a department. It is an attitude to be demonstrated every day in every interaction we have with our customers. It is the responsibility of every employee in the company, from the CEO to the custodian and everyone in between. Each one of us must strive to provide our customers with a positive experience when dealing with our company or they might not come back.

With so many businesses today operating in panic mode, focusing on cutting back, eliminating cost,s and downsizing, customer service has never been more important. Price matters, and so does having a high-quality product or service. If you don't have a high-quality product or service, you won't even be considered by customers. Customer service plays a vital role in the success or failure of any organization too. Now is the time for you and your business to focus on how you are treating your customers or risk losing them forever to your competitors.

Customers, as well as prospective customers, are judging you with every interaction they have with your company. Your words, actions, and most important, your attitude, have the ability to delight or disappoint your customers. While first impressions are enduring, the most recent and last impressions are just as important. Whether it's the first time you are dealing with a customer or the 21st time, it is imperative that you leave him with a good taste in his mouth or he might not come back. And even worse than not coming back, she might share her bad experience with others. You can't afford to alienate, frustrate, or annoy a single customer. With the multitude of social media channels at your customers' fingertips today, it could only be just a few short minutes before the entire world hears about the bad experience your customer had with your company. Can you take that risk? I don't think so.

Companies that pay close attention to their customers thrive, while those that don't perish. Businesses that don't truly understand their customers and their needs, and don't attempt to improve their experiences, will soon find themselves with fewer customers. And that could put you one step closer to going out of business.

Customer service can make or break your company. It's fundamental to profitable growth. Businesses that provide great customer service will succeed, and those who don't will struggle to survive.

In the book, The Simple Truths of Service by Ken Blanchard and Barbara Glanz, the introduction speaks volumes: "Years ago you could abuse customers and they had no choice. There was nobody else doing your business. Today things are very different. If you don't take care of your customers, somebody is waiting, ready, and willing to do it. Today your competitive advantage is not the quality of your product or service. If you don't have a high-quality product or service, you're not even in the game. Your competitive edge today cannot be your price, because somebody can always undercut your price. What you need is a fair price. The real competitive edge you have today is how you treat your customers. The one thing your competition can't take away from you is the relationship your people have with your customers."

What kind of relationship do you and your employees have with your customers? Are you putting smiles on their faces with each encounter they have with you? Or are they merely putting up with you until someone new comes along? Do you honestly know the answer from your customers' perspective? Customer service is everyone's job in your organization, not just the employees with the words "customer service" in their job titles.


Randi Busse is a customer service speaker, trainer, and author of Turning Rants Into Raves: Turn Your Customers On Before They Turn On YOU! Her company, Workforce Development Group, (www.workdevgroup.com) provides training and coaching to improve customer service, increase customer retention, and create a culture of ownership among employees.