How do great businesses differentiate themselves from the competition? They show the importance of customer service in their organization. Have you ever called a company with a complaint, only to get off that call so happy knowing your problem had been solved professionally and to the best of the company’s ability. I have, and this is what keeps customers coming back. It’s unfortunate when companies provide their customers with poor customer service because when they do they lose customers quickly. Additionally, word of mouth is a very powerful way to influence people, if you have a good or bad experience with a company often you’ll talk about it and be able to persuade others. These are reasons you see some companies rise to the top and others fail miserably.


Addressing problems

I have found customer service departments to be either really good at addressing problems or very poor at it. You can always tell quickly if you’re in good hands or not, at least in my experience. You should never have to ask yourself why your problem is not important to them, that’s a red flag and you should probably cease from dealing with that company in the future. For example, I recently had problems with a phone case I bought from Amazon.com and I found their customer service team to be fantastic. When I called to address the problem, they were polite, they offered me a credit equal to the amount of my purchase, and they apologized for the poor product. I know Amazon.com is a great company with a great customer service team because many of my friends have had similar experiences with them. Sadly, I can’t say I have had the same experiences at Walmart. I’ve run into hostile employees, and tried to take advantage of promotions that were never fulfilled. So, I don’t do business with Walmart anymore. I know others have had similar experiences with Walmart and it’s probably why they are losing business to Amazon.com everyday.


Fixing the problem

Big companies shouldn’t put themselves in a position of where they need to fix a customer service problem. However, if they do recognize they have a problem, it’s best to fix it immediately rather than try to ignore it or cover it up. Dell Computer was guilty of this at one time. For example, Jeff Jarvis didn’t like the customer service Dell gave him back in 2005, so he wrote this blog post. I will tell you what, it got Dell Computer’s attention as well as the rest of the blogosphere. Dell ended up giving Jeff a refund and eventually asked him for advice on the issue of customer service. Since then, Dell Computer has become a model company with high customer service levels, and they pay a lot of attention to their customers. This was an important lesson for Dell to learn and it can be a hard lesson for any company to learn. I would recommend reading more about this in Jeff’s book What Would Google Do?, it’s quite a fascinating read.


Product and brand loyalty

Companies need to develop product and/or brand loyalty with their customer base and clients. This is a key factor in a successful business and it can be developed through excellent customer service. If you own a company or are in sales, you should always try to find ways in which you can service your customers better. Check in with your customers frequently, ask them if they are happy with their purchases, what can be done to improve the product, how your service compares to others, etc. Customer feedback can be very useful in product improvement, but you need excellent customer service to have these advantages.