You know this game, right? You speak these phrases (loves me, loves me not) while picking the petals from a flower and at the end of the “game” you “know” whether or not the object of your affection returns your feelings.
Silly really but quite popular in the schoolyard where grammar school girls can be found giggling as they dismantle a poor daisy. Yes, just a childish past time.
But I have to tell you that in this time of incredible competition, where companies are often working on the most slender of margins and where attention to providing customer service excellence is paramount and key to retaining and growing customers…yes, in this very era where we have just gone through a most debilitating recession, the loves me, loves me not method of customer service is still, yes, ladies and gentlemen, alive and well.
Say it isn’t so but can you really tell me that you haven’t experienced one (or more) of these situations:
- A call or email into a company asking a question or raising a problem or complaint goes unanswered.
- A representative from a company is unprofessional or downright rude.
- Your order is late and the company hasn’t reached out to alert you BEFORE the fact.
- There is a price change and no one bothered to get your advance approval.
- You’re nickel and dimed with excess charges.
- Portions are smaller; prices are higher.
- Response times are down.
And on and on.
And perhaps most disturbing of all, it appears that no one really cares what you think, that if you stop doing business with the company, well, there’s another customer waiting in the wings.
Which of course we know isn’t so.
So what to do? Simple, really:
- Make certain that all of your company policies and procedures are customer-focused and they support the very people (your customers!) that keep you in business.
- Set policies that make it EASY for people to do business with you.
- Take ownership if and when there are problems. Nobody expects perfection; it’s how you handle problems that can make or break the customer relationship.
- Survey your customers on an ongoing basis. Remember Mayor Ed Koch. He was fond of asking, “How am I doing?” It’s a rather fantastic idea actually.
We know that it takes more money to bring in new business than to retain and grow your existing clients and customers. Doesn’t it make good sense to do everything that you need / MUST do to make certain that the minimal attrition occurs?
Loves me, loves me not indeed!