Using Customer Service to Foster Growth

“There are many who subscribe to the convention that service is a business cost, but our data demonstrates that superior service is an investment that can help drive business growth. Investing in quality talent, and ensuring they have the skills, training and tools that enable them to empathize and actively listen to customers are central to providing consistently excellent service experiences.” – Jim Bush

The main aim of top class customer service is to get customers that would use a company’s products and or services, and do so repeatedly, while encouraging others as well to buy from the company. This effectively means that the company should use customer service to foster growth, optimize resources, and maximize its reach. Customer service allows a company to focus its energy and attention on the various customer segments, providing them with the best. Customer segmentation is a great way to create strategies and efforts that would appear tailor made for customers in a particular segment. The more customization a company does, the happier customers get, translating to more business and thus fostering growth for a company. Through a complete understanding of what customers expect, a company would be able to provide solutions and products that customers would perceive as extremely useful and pertinent to their needs.

When aligned and used well, any company can use customer service to foster growth. Through customer service, a company can ensure that it is able to match every customer segment with the right kind of service, thereby ensuring the satisfaction and happiness across segments. It is important to leverage customer service to foster growth, gain new business, enhance customer loyalty, and breed brand advocacy. This would make customer service a profit centre rather than a cost centre, as it was previously considered to be. Rapid expansion, the need to outdo competition, and maximize resources has become top priority for companies, which sometimes leads to the neglect of the foundation – customer service. Given that some companies still hold on to traditional mind-sets, customer service continues to be relegated  to a cost centre, which in turn prevents companies from hiring and staffing appropriately, leading to inadequate and sloppy service to customers.

In order to use customer service to foster growth, it is imperative that the teams directly responsible for this critical function understand the importance of what service excellence entails and of providing consistently good service. They need to use customer service to foster growth for the company but maintaining strong relationships with the company’s customers. In the business world now, customer service has become the topmost factor for any company to outrun its competitors and stay ahead of them. Customer service is no longer an option for companies, but has become the core of every business strategy and imperative. A company that focuses on service, would hire the right kind of people, enhance their skills, and train them to build the skills necessary to provide service excellence, and to gain the right understanding of the real and true meaning of service. It is only through concerted effort and laser like focus on customer service that a company can actually begin to see financial and other benefits for its business, both short and long term.

The reason that a company can use customer service to foster growth is because the kind of service it provides is directly related with customer happiness and loyalty. We know that service is challenging given that service representatives deal with hundreds / thousands of calls daily, of which a large number would be similar in nature. However, the fact is that for a customer her or his query / problem would be unique, and they would expect it to be treated as such. By generalizing or appearing nonchalant about their individual problems, a company would very easily lose the customers, who in turn could spread negativity about a business, leading to other customers leaving or preventing potential customers to stay away. This is definitely not the way to foster business growth.

The reason a number of companies fail to use customer service to foster growth is because they do not align their service agents in the overall business strategies. The agents must understand the encompassing strategies and the importance of providing consistently great service. The fact is that if customers are happy with the company they will help to make it successful and a consistently growing company would be able to provide a lot more benefits and better compensation to its employees, who in turn would be energized to provide better service to customers. The ‘cycle of growth’ must be understood by all in order for each employee to pull their weight and ensure that customers receive the best service possible.

The most important way that a company can use customer service to foster growth is by pleasing customers enough such that they are compelled to spread the positive word of mouth. Customer word of mouth is one of the most potent and effective tool for not only creating awareness about a business, but also for fostering growth. When customers are delighted by a company’s service, and decide to speak about it, they become brand advocates, and people are more likely to believe them than the company. Customer advocates use their social networks, which leads to publicity, awareness, enhanced reputation, and likeability for a company. There are no kinds of promotion or advertising activities that achieve better results than this method – customer advocacy, and by using customer service effectively, a company can insure its growth.

The other way that a company can use customer service to foster growth is by creating a niche and an impression of authority in the minds of its customers and in the marketplace at large. With so many players, it is imperative that a company remains in the forefront and is ‘visible’, not just to prospective customers but to a much larger audience. Unless people know a company, and what it offers, they would not buy. Hence, it is imperative to ensure that a company does whatever it can to highlight its uniqueness and differentiate itself through any means possible. From research, it is well known now that customers choose and stay with or reject a company based on the kind of service it provides. More customers and more business, translates to growth and customer service is the most effective path.

The better a company becomes, and the more number of positive comments and endorsements it receives from its existing clients, the more attractive the company becomes to potential customers. A great website, high quality products, and service excellence will enhance the conversion rate of a company, drawing more people towards it. Thousands of people check on companies and their websites daily, but may not decide to engage in business unless there is something special and extraordinary about the company. What would make it for a company would be the number of happy customers and their comments, which would have been possible only through top class service.

The fact is that it is prudent to use customer service to foster growth since there really is no substitute. Customers demand to be treated with respect and importance if they are to help a company’s business, and the best way to do that is by providing high quality customer service. Regardless of the amount of business, every customer must be shown respect, and every interaction with a company should leave them feeling valued. Delivering top class service is the sure shot way to fostering and sustaining business growth.

 

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