The ability of your business to survive and thrive all comes down to customer service.
Some business owners think that they can sacrifice customer service in a pinch. And that, they can give less and charge more to make ends meet. This strategy never works for long.
Yet, plenty of amazing and highly profitable businesses have been built by focusing on serving customers better than the incumbents. Folks make sure to include customer service initiatives in their business plan. Especially, when they are pitching to potential investors, who they are looking to onboard.
In part one we covered the first seven rules of delivering good customer service:
- Recognizing that customer service is your number one priority
- Choosing your investors wisely
- Making sure your entire team knows how important good service is
- Hiring specifically to give great service
- Empowering your people to follow through on giving it
- Going beyond being courteous
- Putting yourself in your customers’ shoes
Now master these essential rules of customer service and building a business that will attract and retain great talent, turn customers into raving fans and brand ambassadors, will draw the best investors, and will be flush with revenues and profits.
8. Make it Easy to Do Business & Communicate with You
It should never be a pain or inconvenient to do business with you. It shouldn’t be hard for people to buy from you. It shouldn’t be hard for people to make payments and give you their money. That is just shooting yourself in your foot.
Customers shouldn’t have to listen to 30 minutes of recorded junk, only to finally be connected to a phone rep who doesn’t speak their language and cannot help. It makes zero sense. Unless you are purposefully trying to shed as many customers and revenues as you can. If that’s the case, your shareholders have the obligation to remove you from your position.
9. See Complaints As Opportunities
Things will go wrong. They just will. Deliveries will go to the wrong address, glitches in the system will happen, and there will be disconnects in expectations.
If customers care enough to try and get in touch with you to give you the chance to keep them as paying customers, it is clearly foolish not to take that opportunity.
It may not be fun. It may not be the favorite thing on your to-do list. It’s necessary. At least, if you want to stay in business. All it takes is one bad review, and that can hit the top of Google. All the brand trust and sweat that you’ve put in for the last 10+ years can be gone with just one click or tap.
Number one, see it as an opportunity. Two, show them that you do value their business. Know the lifetime customer value of everyone they can possibly touch and either bring in or turn off. If it costs you anything below that number to completely wow them with an amazing solution, it’s a no-brainer. As Nike would say, Just do it.
10. Keep Communicating
This is one of the very few things you can really own and use to distinguish yourself in any industry.
Don’t stop when things are good either. Stay in front of the mind. Keep making them happy. Don’t just take the next sale for granted.
11. Take Responsibility When You Mess Up
It’s not a popular strategy. Especially not in the highly litigious environment of America. It’s probably even super-rare. Do it anyway.
No one is perfect. No system or business will be perfect all the time forever. Most people can forgive most things once. At least, if you genuinely take accountability. Keep communicating, vow it won’t happen again, and actually make things right.
Note that this doesn’t work when you lied about it for the last 6 or 12 months, and it’s the second or third time you’ve been busted. At that point, anything you say is just going to be an insult. Do the right thing anyway. Show it. Don’t just say it.
12. Keep Giving More
There’s a reason why old industries and big incumbents are getting smashed by new startups.
Too often it comes down to the fact that once there are only 3 or 4 major players left in a space, the perceived need to provide good customer service goes out the window. As long as they aren’t the worst of those three, they think they are safe – even if the service is absolutely horrific and they are making people’s lives hell.
If you’re happy just not being the absolute worst in your industry by a couple of points, one day that’s going to bite you back.
Instead of continuing to lower the bar, what if you kept raising it instead?
Keep giving more and impressing your customers. They’ll reward you with their loyalty, referrals, and dollars.
If you’re already big, or at least a big deal, remember that your competition is awake all night with teams of experts. They’re looking for ways of how you are dropping the ball and how to lure your customers away.
Advanced Customer Service
These are all basic rules for good customer service. Don’t stop there. This is the minimum viable product. Build on top of this. Invite your teams to go above and beyond it. You won’t always get it right, but if you shoot high, and fix failures fast, you’ll be okay.
Go beyond just meeting customer expectations and needs. Anticipate their wants before they have them. Build a company culture that can’t be touched by your competition, because your service is just that good. Once you master this angel investors of all sorts will knock on your door to invest capital.
Alejandro Cremades is a serial entrepreneur and the author of The Art of Startup Fundraising. With a foreword by ‘Shark Tank‘ star Barbara Corcoran, and published by John Wiley & Sons, the book was named one of the best books for entrepreneurs. The book offers a step-by-step guide to today‘s way of raising money for entrepreneurs.
Most recently, Alejandro built and exited CoFoundersLab which is one of the largest communities of founders online.
Prior to CoFoundersLab, Alejandro worked as a lawyer at King & Spalding where he was involved in one of the biggest investment arbitration cases in history ($113 billion at stake).
Alejandro is an active speaker and has given guest lectures at the Wharton School of Business, Columbia Business School, and at NYU Stern School of Business.
Alejandro has been involved with the JOBS Act since inception and was invited to the White House and the US House of Representatives to provide his stands on the new regulatory changes concerning fundraising online.