Many times, a lot of emphasis/effort is put on getting the best CEOs, accountants, engineers, doctors, analysts, manufacturers, etc, while less energy is invested in selecting customer care/support/service agents, cleaners, and customer minders. Customer care is as equally important in an organisation as all the other departments.
The biggest reason I defend that statement is that these people [workers] are directly in charge of the clients. They make a lasting impression. The biggest reason given by people for not going back to the same restaurant has always been ‘poor customer care’.
Why eat in a restaurant where the waiter/waitress is rude when the next restaurant has a very happy and welcoming team? Everything in a business/company goes and comes back to a satisfied customer/client. Like it is always said, the customer is the king at the end of the day. Unfortunately, whereas many people think that is the case, the actions are contrary.
We have it in the manuals but in actual sense, it is lacking. The truth though is that the more you have happy customers, the more your business is sure to grow.
There are different stages of growing a customer base and all of them need one to be mindful of caring for the customers/clients.
Attraction of customers (offering an environment and services that pull customers from a related business to yours). The action points here are the environment, the receptionist and customer care team, the procedures and policies of getting the required product/service, the time factor and, of course, the quality and quantity of the product/service offered.
Retention of customers (making customer to come back again after the first visit). The action points are after sales services, proper call centre for follow up, help the clients on inquiries and complaints and other needs by the customer.
Maintaining the retained customers for a long period of time (Turning a regular customer into a royal customer). The action points may include offering gifts to these customers, recognising the best customers, offering credit services, bonuses, parties and so on.
Keep in mind that for every level, the action points for attracting a customer still apply. All the above cited steps, involve intentionality and desire for growth, but most important, they all require proper customer care. Thinking about the customer from the first step of production to the last step of the desired growth.
Every client has an expectation that needs to be met before and after they visit your business. One of the things that makes an impression on a business for example is the reception a client gets. However, out of 10 receptionists, you will find about three that are positive, energised, trained and happy to serve. Is this because there are not many good receptionists out there? No. I have come to conclude that most people think it is very easy a job to do so any one will do it with or without proper selection and training. That is a wrong perception!
For most organisations, it is normal for the customer service team to be allocated the least resources because somehow one thinks they do not do much, which is demotivating to for the team. I have experienced direct contact with different customers both physically and through mobile calls and I guarantee you, it is not as easy as we seem to think.
You receive direct communication and wrath from the clients. You see first-hand whether they are satisfied or not.
There is so much you can do to improve customer care at your organisation as business owners, CEOs, directors, shareholders and leaders. Always remember that the happier the client, the more sure you are of your business growth.
Ms Precious Babra N. Muhumuza is a senior manager, customer experience - Finca Plus LLC (BrightLife).