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A tale of two servants

I wonder if you have heard the customer service quote, often attributed to Mahatma Ghandi…..

A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.

So is the importance of customer service all that it’s cracked up to be? Absolutely!

I travelled to Johannesburg/Pretoria on Monday and Tuesday. Whilst there I had 2 very contrasting experiences. The difference between the poor and the memorable? How I was served as a customer/client by the “server”

In the first case, it was at a popular fast food venue. (I think that was a mistake!). There were 3 waitresses who were hanging around the reception desk. After fair service from a novice waiter, I asked for the bill (via the 3 waiters at the reception). The response was no movement, little acknowledgement and a twist of the head and indifferent shout to the novice waiter. My thoughts? I will remember that experience for all the wrong reasons!

In contrast, I flew back on SAA on Tuesday night and was treated in a most memorable way. Charmaine Dumisa, an air hostess, was exemplary in her service. I took the time to note her name, compliment her and take a photo. (I am still going to write to SAA to compliment her). She was one of 2 hostesses that served us a light meal and something to drink.

Perhaps it was because of her name, but she was charming, gave a brilliant smile to accompany the offer of the meal and was ultra-courteous. My thoughts? I was so impressed how she took the “ordinary” and made it Extra- ordinary by adding courtesy, interest, engagement and a genuine smile. Well done Charmaine, and thank you! (PS. Please remember to compliment and note good service)

If you break down what she did, I think it can be linked to these 4 Reasons Good Customer Service Is Vital by Tabitha Jean Naylor

Many small businesses fail to realize just how important good customer is for the overall health of your business. This can be a huge mistake, since good customer service isn’t just important… it’s absolutely vital. Not sure why? Check out these four simple reasons to gain a better understanding.

1. It’s What Customers Will Remember
People will always remember if your customer service was really great or really terrible. You definitely don’t want them remember the latter. You may be wondering why people remember customer service so vividly, but the answer should be fairly obvious – your customers are actively interacting with you. They aren’t just looking at your products, but speaking and working with someone who is supposed to represent your company. If that person represents your company in a good way, your customers will remember your company fondly. If that person represents your company in a negative way, you’ll probably lose a customer and garner some bad press.

2. It Reflects Heavily On Your Entire Business
Everything pertaining to your company reflects upon everything else. You see, if you have good customer service, people naturally assume you have good products. If you have bad customer service, people naturally assume you have bad products. The same goes vice versa, and can pertain to shipping, returns, services, and anything else. Even though this may not be entirely true, you need to be aware that this is how your customers think. Besides, do you really want to patronize a place who has bad customer service? Of course not, because if you run into any issues you can’t be positive you’ll receive the help you need.

3. It Shows Customers You Care
When you take the time to courteously and effectively take care of your customer’s issues, it shows you truly care about them. This shouldn’t be faked either. You should genuinely care about your customers, since they are literally the most important aspect of your business. Without customers, you sell no products or services. When you don’t make sales, you have no cash flow. Without cash flow, you can’t pay your overhead. When you don’t pay your overhead, your business literally fails. On the bright side, customers who feel as though a company cares about them are much more likely to refer others and become repeat customers themselves.

4. It’s A Great Marketing Angle
From a purely business standpoint, good customer service is a great marketing angle. It’s something you can tout in your advertisements which is sure to bring you in more customers. People like to hear you have top notch customer service, pure and simple.  Anything that can help you with effective marketing is worth the extra effort. This angle works best when other real-life customers are talking about  how great your customer service is, so feel free to ask for reviews and testimonials.

Conclusion

These four reasons show us why customer service is vital to the overall health of your small business. It takes so little effort to have effective, friendly customer service, and the benefits are numerous. With a little extra effort, your business can soon be reaping the benefits of top-notch customer service.

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