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As we head into 2015, it’s always a good idea to review your customer service assets and liabilities and assess whether you have gained over the previous year.

For business owners, one of your most valuable assets (and probably the hardest one to measure) is your customers. Without customers, you don’t have a business and with dissatisfied or reluctant customers, your business will struggle – unless you are Telstra or Ergon.

So I thought it would be a useful exercise to review the keys to maximising your customer service value to help you have a better 2015.

Keys to Customer Service

  1. Remember, your team will deliver customer service. Unless you are a one-man band, you will be relying on other people to deliver the standard of customer service you want for your business. While you have a vested interest in making sure your customers are well looked after, your team is not necessarily similarly committed. Therefore you need to make sure that you hire the right people, you train the right people and you reward the right people.
  2. Customer support is not an expense. Customer support in any context is going to cost your business, so it is easy to think of support in terms of dollars spent and the natural reaction to that is to be efficient at the lowest cost. The risk is that the customer support provided suffers and you defeat the purpose of customer service in the first place. However, if you think of customer support as an investment in your most valuable asset, your mindset will be directed to making the customer service process effective rather than efficient.
  3. Customer service is not necessarily a system – in most areas of your business, you need to make sure that systems are in place to deliver consistent and predictable results. While this also applies to customer service, some degree of flexibility is required. Allowing your team to meet the customer’s needs in an appropriate manner will help the customer become a fan. Of course the danger here is that a team member may be over generous so some guidelines are required.
  4. Make a lasting impression. Like all marketing (and remember, customer service is part of marketing), you need to be aware of the impression you are leaving with your customers. It’s no good having a very attentive sales team if the post-sale support provided is average. The interaction post-sale needs to be as personalised and direct as possible to make sure that the experience of your customer is a memorable and positive one.

Make sure that 2015 is the year you increase the value of your customer service. The return on investment will make it worthwhile.