Beyond customer service

Dec 11, 2017

The cornerstone of customer service is perception and the key goal of any business is to ensure that this perception always remains positive.

Perception is a customer’s reality. They don’t have to know all the details about your brand or intended mission, vision and values but by interacting with your brand, their experience influences how they feel about it. This personal experience is entirely dependent on each and every interaction they have with your business and brand, so it’s important to maintain quality and consistency.

Let’s say you’re an optometrist. If we look at the cycle of a client’s interaction – from making an appointment, to getting their eyes tested, to paying their account – consider how many opportunities you have to influence their perception of your brand and business:

  • Making an appointment
  • Reminder call
  • Arrival at reception for the appointment
  • Administration prior to appointment
  • Pre-test checks
  • Eye exam
  • Fitting of appliances
  • Quote for appliance
  • Finalise order and account
  • Call for collection of account
  • Fitment of appliance
  • Settlement of account
  • Set up reminder call for follow up
  • After service assessment call

That’s a minimum of 14 points of contact to influence a customer. I’m sure you can think of as many, if not more, that apply to your own business. So why do we sometimes fail to delight?

One reason is that we divide up the points of contact between different members of the team who don’t all know the customer. This results in the customer having to repeatedly tell their “story” to different people. It’s definitely not the most effective way of delighting customers.

Then, we often treat people we meet as if they are not unique people with individual needs and personalities. We respond to challenges like robots, too afraid to use our own discretion for fear of creating an expectation that cannot be fulfilled.

By contrast, the most positive perceptions are created by attentive, personalised service, tailor-made to treat customers like valuable contributors to your business.

When I trained as a nurse 25 years ago, our first lecture at Groote Schuur was on patient care. The lecturer started with the following advice: Treat every patient as if they were your most treasured family member. This is the same sentiment and principle we should apply to our valued customers.

All research into customer service refers to personalised contact, attention to detail, always exercising good manners, smiling sincerely, telling the truth and saying what you will do and doing what you say. If you care about what you do and always pay attention to your customers’ needs it will pay to run your business. After all, without customers your business is worth nothing.

In the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “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 to 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 favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.”

Take your customer service to the next level

If you’d like to learn more about maximising your customers’ perception of your brand and business, as well as how to grow and maintain a sustainable customer base, get in touch with us today.

Vizibiliti Management Services – Success is in sight!

BY ALISON MAYTHAM

BY ALISON MAYTHAM

“There are many different factors that determine the success of your practice – but, as a busy healthcare professional focusing on the needs of your patients, you may not always have the time to focus on the many demanding, and often complex, facets of managing your business. Vizibiliti provides you with easy access to insightful, comprehensive practice and business management solutions and advice across all stages of your business journey – from establishing, growing or closing your practice.”

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