Customer support is a set of policies determined by management on how all levels of staff should interact with their customers. This set of policies encompasses everything from how customers are greeted, how service complaints are handled, whether you back up your service or product, right down to whether ample parking is provided. Basically, good customer support will ensure that your customers know they are valued.
Regardless of whether you’re a large corporation, a medium-sized business, or a start-up, providing your customers with excellent customer support should be at the very core of your business model, because providing your customers with a great customer experience is the one thing you can do to set your business apart from your competitors. Let’s face it, without customers you have no business, so it’s simply good business sense to deliver great service before, during, and after a customer has made a purchase. Greater customer satisfaction leads to a more enjoyable customer experience, which leads to loyal customers, and loyal customers is what every business should be aiming for.
Customer service training can certainly take up additional time, money, and resources; however, it’s customer satisfaction that generates positive word-of-mouth for your business and helps your business grow. It’s also important to keep in mind that customers are quick to jump on social media and share their experiences, both positive and negative, and damaging feedback could have a devastating effect on your business. On the other hand, positive feedback is like money in the bank!
As CEO of your business it’s very important that you have hands-on customer support experience, and this experience should begin as soon as possible – ideally at start-up. Regardless of what product or service you’re selling, customers today expect to be heard and they expect to be respected. Providing average customer support simply won’t cut it in today’s business world because there are businesses out there in your own field who are providing the kind of service that customers expect.
And, of course the best way to gain a close insight into your own business is to sit at the help desk and talk to your customers; it’s the only way you’ll find out what they expect, what they’re happy about, and what they’re not happy about. If you’re in business, then you’re in the business of customer support, which means winning and keeping customers. If you ask the right questions, your customers will be only too happy to discuss what they are, and are not, happy to pay for; and when you’re trying to determine where your service or product fits in the marketplace this information can be pure gold.
You can use this vital first-hand knowledge of how your customers feel about your service or product to shape your short-term roadmap, and you’ll quickly see the kinks that need to be ironed out.
How can you know what your customers need if you don’t listen to what they’re telling you? Obviously, as CEO of your business, you have a lot on your shoulders and it’s your responsibility to focus on important issues like developing a great product or service, hiring the right staff, and raising capital, so it can be very easy to lose sight of what your customers are really looking for. In fact, you could be building the business you always dreamed of, but have you stopped to consider that this may not be what your customers want?
That’s why it’s so important that you interact with your customers on a personal level and listen to what they’re telling you. There’s no point developing a service or product if no-one’s interested. Having hands-on experience with customer support will assist you in fine-tuning your vision so that you develop a service or product that people actually want to purchase.
It’s vitally important to any business that customer service personnel are trained to ensure that every customer has an exceptional experience with your business; however, there’s always going to be a marked difference between how a CEO approaches a customer query and how a customer support staff member addresses the same issue. A customer support staff member can only go so far, whereas the CEO of a business has the innate ability to understand problems and the authority to quickly fix them to ensure a win-win situation for all concerned.
Support staff are often so busy maintaining prompt response times and achieving a good satisfaction rating that they’re often not able to see the big picture: they’re not trained to take a step back and see the bigger problems.
This all changes when customer support personnel see their CEO handling customer support. They instantly recognize just how important customer service is and why it’s not enough to simply keep customers satisfied. It’s only then they realize that there’s a lot more to their job; that it’s vitally important for them to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that each and every customer has a great experience with your business.
Most CEOs who involve themselves in customer support say that it’s the most enjoyable part of their day: it’s how they get to see their business from the other side, and the information they learn helps keep their business on the right track. And for CEOs of start-ups, it’s important to always remember why you decided to start a business in the first place. It’s your customers who have helped make your vision a reality, so take the time to talk to them and learn from them. This information will show how you can better serve the very people who have made your business what it is today.
Try it! You’ll enjoy the experience, and you’ll learn a lot about your business.