“It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages. “ Henry Ford
A mentor was sharing his frustration with me recently about the lack of client service delivered by some of his team members. Simple things like acknowledging emails and returning calls. He get incredibly annoyed when he received calls from clients who have taken the time to track him down as their leader because they can’t get any response from the individual.
Interestingly, I was speaking with someone else who was telling me they considered a recent service experience a great because at least someone had returned their call!
Is this what our expectations of good service is now? Simply returning a phone call? In my opinion that is pathetic.
So what’s happened? Why are we consistently experiencing such bad service from not only large conglomerates but small business also? From solo operators who should be treating every client they have like gold. Have we become totally arrogant? Have we lost the art of communicating? Have we become more tolerant to poor service simply because we’re busy and assume others are busy also so we accept it now?
How we do business in the current era has changed. Where mainstream advertising may have attracted clients in the past, 78% of people now trust peer recommendation. You can be referred by word of month or a social media call out for recommendation. No longer are people looking through local papers or the yellow pages to find someone to fulfil a need. They can ask their network. The cold call is done for you! It should really be a ‘kaching’ moment!
However, if the person referred can’t respond to an email or call a client back in a timely manner what do you think that’s going to do to their reputation and the reputation of the person referring? Remembering that reputation is everything in business?
We may have an opportunity to capitalize on the poor standard of customer service by providing a good standard to clients now. However, that’s not going to work in the future. As time progresses, people are getting sick of the busy excuse and will be less tolerant. Everyone is busy!
To future proof your business and your clients we need to establish a minimum service expectation that will delight our clients and have them speak about us in a very positive way encouraging referral business. We need to lead this and model the way for teams. This pathetic level of service can’t continue in an environment that is becoming increasingly competitive and complex.