Customer Service - A 2024 Business Resolution

BusinessSales / Service

  • Author David Levine
  • Published January 1, 2024
  • Word count 1,152

Resolutions for the New Year

Every year at the start of the year, individuals all over the world make what are known as "New Year's resolutions," self-imposed goals that could include losing weight, saving money, or landing a better job. A study by Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business found that just 9% of Americans who make resolutions follow through on them. Perhaps people set themselves unreasonably high expectations. If the goals were more doable, then more people might stick to them. Or maybe people choose a resolution because it sounds good.

Financial Resolutions

According to the Motley Fool, "67% of Americans plan on making a financial resolution for the New Year." Perhaps you fall into that percentile. Whether you fall into that group or not, why not set a goal for your business that could increase your revenue? A goal that can boost your income so you can take a trip or save money. Increasing the quality of your customer service is the resolution I suggest making.

The Customer Service Resolution

Before making a declaration such as "I'm going to improve my customer service as my 2024 New Year's Resolution," one must comprehend the meaning and importance of good customer service.

What is customer service?

"The assistance and advice provided by a company to those who buy or use its products or services" is how the Oxford Language Dictionary defines customer service. Although that is accurate in a technical sense, I define customer service as managing the client's expectations and incorporating the experience into every facet of the business.

Why is providing excellent customer service so important?

Bad customer service has the power to ruin a business, sales commissions, and tips alike. While fair customer service won't always hurt someone's business, tips, or commissions, it can keep them from expanding. Providing exceptional customer service will increase sales and commissions for a business.

Managing the customers’ expectations

Outstanding customer service is the result of managing the expectations of the customer. People enjoy having their expectations met. You can engage with a customer to make them feel involved in the purchasing process by managing their expectations. You acquire their confidence and entice them to come back time and time again.

Let's begin with a transaction that every one of us has completed hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of times. Dining in a restaurant. Why is dining at a restaurant a fun experience? The quality of the food and your interaction with the server. A meal can be ruined by unsatisfactory service. On the other hand, outstanding customer service can turn an ordinary meal into a nice experience and a reason to return to the restaurant.

Parallels can be drawn to any business that provides products or services, which are all businesses. Managing the expectations of your clients or customers will lead to repeat business, regardless of whether you are an accountant or zookeeper.

Consider an accountant. Everyone is aware that the United States has an April 15th tax deadline. Accountants who manage their customers' expectations of when 1099s, W2s, charitable deductions, and receipts will have customers whose returns are filed on time. If an accountant fails to notify their customers of this, customers may show up on April 14th only to discover that they are unable to submit their taxes and will need to pay for an extension. This will result in a disgruntled customer and a bad encounter.

One of the best examples of a business that seldom controls expectations is a doctor's office. The customers are called patients. How many times in your life have you been forced to wait for a dentist or doctor? There are too many to count. The receptionist sometimes doesn't even let you know if the doctor is running late. When was the last time a doctor's office called to inform you of an emergency and that the doctor was running late? Less than I can count on one hand. Not to mention how many times you were offered the option to postpone or arrive later. Unfortunately, people have grown accustomed to subpar customer service in this field. The good news is that if you are a doctor or a practice manager, you have an amazing opportunity to set your office apart from others.

By managing customers’ expectations, mechanics have a fantastic opportunity to excel in the field of customer service. Mechanics are typically given a terrible reputation, which is occasionally deserved but more often not. If a mechanic provides their clients with an honest, detailed estimate of the repairs the car needs and the estimated time needed to fix the car, the customer feels part of the process. Otherwise, the mechanic runs the risk of having a disgruntled customer who feels exploited.

Whatever the industry, salespeople must provide exceptional customer service. When people think of a salesperson, several stereotypical images come to mind:

• The used car salesperson

• The salesperson attempting to up-sell you at a big-box retailer

• The pushy insurance salesperson

The truth is that sales and customer service are more intertwined than one might think. Whether you are an actual salesperson, a customer service representative, or a company technician, how you interact with a customer can determine if there will be a future sale.

Those whose primary responsibility is sales must prioritize providing excellent customer service. They must consider the long term and focus on building a customer base rather than just closing a quick deal. The ROI from returning clients is higher than the ROI from a new one. A salesperson who engages customers with questions such as:

• What are your needs or goals?

• What is your budget?

• What is your time frame?

is actively engaging a customer and making them part of the sales process. More important than asking questions is listening to the answers. Asking questions and listening enhance the customers' experience. By engaging with customers via questions, you may manage their expectations and deliver a positive customer experience. A positive customer experience leads to a happy customer. Happy customers are more likely to become repeat customers, who are more likely to recommend you to others. Returning customers and referrals will increase your revenue and reduce your sales cycle.

Improving customer service resolution

If you are into making resolutions for 2024, then I suggest you start with a practical resolution that can improve every aspect of your life. We all want to lose weight or end a bad habit, both of which are hard. The resolution of improving your level of customer service by managing your customer expectations is doable and can lead to increasing your revenue. Of course, smiling and being courteous to your customers will also go a long way. Working with your customers and making them part of the sales cycle will go even further. Try it for a month; you have nothing to lose except that you might set a new standard that you will have to keep going forward.

David Levine founder of iamyourvirtualprofessional.com

For almost two decades, I ran our family’s brick-and-mortar store with a click-and-mortar component. Now as a small business consultant, I work with small business owners in the following areas:

• Customer Service

• Branding

• Business Development

• Digital Marketing

My goal is to help small business owners grow their businesses.

I am currently writing a book on customer service.

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