Customer Service is a Profit Center

Customer Service: What is it and why does it matter?

Regardless of the type of business you’re in, attention to customer service is an issue that commands its due. Unfortunately, customer service is often thought of as a cost center, rather than a profit center.

Here’s the bottom line. You can spend millions on marketing and have the best product or service around, but if you’ve got crappy customer service, you might as well throw in the towel.

That’s right. In this digital information age of the empowered consumer and social media, much of your marketing will be done without any input from you; the marketing message the masses receive will depend a great deal on the impression you left on those you served.

It’s pretty simple, really. When you pay proper attention to customer service, customer service becomes a profit center, because word of mouth brings in more business.

Take a look at some of the most successful companies of our day. Apple, American Express, and South West Airlines are a few terrific examples of the power a positive customer service experience can have on reputation and, ultimately, profit margins.

Apple recently announced that it sold 9 million iPhones during the first weekend of availability for its latest models of iPhone, the I5S and I5C. Granted Apple products are easy to use and extremely well made. They are also expensive and somewhat proprietary in terms of compatibility (with anything), software, and accessories.  Nonetheless, have you ever noticed how when you walk into an Apple retail store the reps don’t ask how they can help you, they ask, “what would you like to do today?” Apple understands that regardless of how intuitive or easy to use their products may be, there is always a tremendous variance in what people want to use technology for, which sometimes creates a need for assistance. Apple understands this and gets right to the technology user’s issue. Most often, the problem is solved on the spot.

Ranked 22nd by Business Week and Interbrand as the most valuable brand in the world, and responsible for roughly 24% of the total dollar revenue of credit card transactions in the United States, American Express is also proprietary, and expensive. And, their customer service representatives are highly trained to put customer experience above all else, including revenue. In addition to that, American Express has taken social media by storm, utilizing it for customer relationship management as well as social marketing.

South West Airlines has seen 41 consecutive years of profitability, despite the fact that they are the “cheaper” choice. Until recently they offered only domestic flights (which was limiting) and now offer only 6 “near international” destinations, and they offer simple, no frills service. And, at the center of Southwest’s coveted success is its exemplary customer service; Southwest employees “transform ordinary moments into memorable experiences” for themselves, and for their passengers, on a daily basis with impromptu toasts to newlyweds, flashmobs, Halloween getup fun and a general attitude of service, gratitude, compassion, connection and friendliness.

These three examples highlight the importance of customer relationship management and service, regardless of the type of business you’re in, and what great customer service can do for your bottom line.

Here are my Ten Commandments of Great Customer Service:

  1. Know who is boss (your customer pays your salary).
  2. Be a good listener.
  3. Identify and anticipate needs.
  4. Make customers feel important and appreciated.
  5. Help customers understand your systems.
  6. Appreciate the power of “yes”.
  7. Know how to apologize.
  8. Give more than expected.
  9. Get regular feedback.
  10.  Treat employees well.

To find out more about delivering exemplary customer service and how you can employ it for the success of your own business, check out the Customer Service section of your S.M.A.R.T. Strategic Marketing and Real Estate Training Guide from REWW.

About Kent Clothier

Kent Clothier is President and CEO of Real Estate Worldwide (REWW), a highly sought-after speaker, the owner of three multi-million dollar a year Internet marketed brands, and proud husband and father. Kent is motivated by his love of family and freedom, creating products that enable people to live their lives the way they choose.

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