I have been involved in various businesses and jobs since I was 12 years old. These days, not many kids start working at such a young age. They should, though. I know, I know, I’ll be accused of forcing kids into labor and such, but what I am saying is that kids can learn a lot by getting into doing jobs, work, business and such at a young age.
One of the things that I learned from my first mentor was that Customer Service is the most important thing about any business. Actually, I’ll expand it and say that Customer Service is the most important aspect of any part of your life.
Now, in some parts of your life, you may have to look at the word “customer” a little differently.
Marriage? Your spouse is your customer. Treat your customer right, and you’ll have a customer for life.
Friendship? Your friends are your customers.
It applies to any kind of relationship. However, this blog is about business, so let’s focus on that.
I contend that the very best way to keep a customer for life is through making mistakes. What? That doesn’t make sense, right? Well, first, let’s all agree that everybody makes mistakes. No matter how hard you try, how much you concentrate, you will make a mistake sooner or later. It is how you deal with that mistake that will decide if you just lost a customer, or strengthened your relationship with that customer.
I have had incidents where I, or one of my employees has made a very serious mistake and a customer told me that we had lost his business for life. He would never shop with us again. Well, the gut reaction is to get mad, tell the person off, and say goodbye! Forget him, right? That’s not the way I do it.
First of all, consider that the reason that the customer is mad is because YOU made the mistake to begin with. If you handle the situation right, you will not only keep the customer, you will also have a stronger relationship with him when he sees that you take care of mistakes. Go out of your way to not only correct the mistake, but go above and beyond what the customer would expect!
Just as an example, I have a business where I sell flowers. Roses and such. Generally, we deliver these flowers to a man’s girlfriend in most cases. If we make a mistake, the guy usually gets quite angry, because not only have we not done what he wanted, in many cases we might have even made him look bad to his girl. That’s like playing with fire. For example, let’s say that we delivered flowers that were not fresh, already wilted. The lady tells the guy that the flowers were not so nice, then he gets angry at us, and says we can kiss his business goodbye. We go out of our way, and we then delivery maybe 3 times the amount of FRESH flowers to the lady as our way of saying “we are sorry” to the customer. Not only that, we tell the girl that it was her boyfriend who sent the additional flowers. This not only corrects the problem, it makes the man look good! You can bet, 9 times out of 10, the guy is so happy that he forgets all about his threat to start shopping elsewhere, and becomes even a better customer in the future.
Customer service is all about how you handle mistakes, which are inevitable. Treat your customers good, step up to the plate and fix the problem when you made a mistake, and you will go far in business. If you don’t do these things, your business may not survive long.