Following a call with tech support or after making an online purchase, many of us have been asked to participate in a survey or grade the performance of the company representative we engaged with. That’s because social media has changed the dynamic, with more and more customers sharing their opinions online by voicing their support of companies, their products, or services, or by expressing their frustration when businesses don’t live up to their expectations. Today, customers want their loyalty recognized and their time and their wallets respected. That’s why in recent years there has been a renewed interest in customer service ratings.
Whether it’s a locally owned retailer, a newly minted start-up, or a major corporation, a commitment to exceptional service is central to an organization’s reputation, growth, and success. And it starts at the top. At JM Electrical, we consider customer service an essential pillar of our business and an integral part of our company culture.
Since our founding more than 35 years ago, we have recognized the importance of building relationships with clients, colleagues, and vendors alike and see a direct correlation between that level of collaboration and our longevity.
Without question, quality customer service gives ventures large and small, a competitive advantage. Market research clearly confirms what companies in every industry and sector have long believed: Meaningful experiences help build trust and lasting relationships with clients. We also know that customers want to be appreciated and that respectful interactions encourage repeat sales, foster positive word-of-mouth, prompts “testimonials” in the form of reviews and referrals, and help burnish reputations.
It’s important to note that the definition of customer service has changed. Is navigating your company website intuitive or challenging? That’s part of the client service paradigm. Customer service is also defined by how long it takes to reach someone who can help resolve a problem. Does a company representative pick up after two rings or are multiple calls required? Are callers routinely left on hold? The same goes for the response time to email inquiries and letters.
Good customer service requires each team member to be both proactive and reactive, whether meeting deadlines, replying to requests promptly, identifying opportunities for cost savings, sharing a creative solution to a problem, or anticipating the need for information before a question is even asked. Customer service must inform every interaction at every level, from receptionists to the C-Suite.
A thoughtful approach to customer service is even more important when issues arise. Engaging with clients by quickly acknowledging and addressing their concerns may, in the short-term, salvage a relationship, and, in the long-term, may influence the way you conduct business. Savvy companies listen to and learn from their customers and from the employees who are on the “front lines.”
For example, here at JM Electrical, we conduct Project Completion surveys at the conclusion of every project to get a better understanding of our customer’s experiences with our team members and overall satisfaction with the quality of our installations. The information gleaned from these surveys helps us adjust our approach and improve practices and protocols where needed. Further, this process also allows us to learn about individual contributions and congratulate team members on a job well done.
When it comes to the significance of customer service, the title of author, marketer, and consumer-behavior specialist Pete Blackshaw’s book on effective business practices says it all, “Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000.”
By: Matthew Guarracino, Principal and CEO at JM Electrical Co.