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Monday, July 6, 2009

Customer Service -- is it enough just to be nice?

I hear a lot of people talk about Customer Service and I've found out that a lot of people equate Customer Service as just being nice to their customers.

For sure, being nice and friendly to your customers are important and definitely a part of customer service, but that's only a small part. The problem is that you can be nice to a customer and still have the customer leave your store or company without ever getting what they want (but you're still nice).

Perhaps another way of thinking about what you provide -- instead of calling it customer service -- would be customer success.

What is Customer Success? Customer Success is helping customers do or get what they want -- to meet the goals or objectives they had when they came to your office or store or web site.

It's about VALUE. In order to have an out-of-this-world experience, customers need to KNOW that when they came to see you, they came to the right place; that your place is where they belong. Otherwise, a conversation like this can happen: "Those are really nice folks, but I'm going to shop over here instead, because these guys provide me the value I'm looking for."

This can apply anywhere from going to buy groceries to purchasing a vehicle to going to the doctor. Customers have an idea or ideas in their minds, either overtly or subconsciously, about what they want to have happen with you and your organization.

A great way to build customer loyalty and return business is to:

1. Understand what your customers value (maybe ask them?) and...
2. Help them get that value and achieve the success they're looking for.
Look at your organization and ask yourself: Are my folks just nice (and, hopefully, at least they're nice) or does our customer service continue on to customer success and value? If you don't like the answer you get...well, time for you to step up and make some changes.

Go get'em.

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