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The New Stuff

Building Customer Loyalty by Making Customer Service Personal

Having worked in everything from mom and pops to Fortune 1000 businesses, as well as my own, I have noticed something which I want to share. There seems to be a wrong approach with many businesses which make their most important employees the ones who get the least monetarily and in praise.

Meaning, customer service which is at the heart, if not the foundation of every business. This group represents your company. Anything a client walks away thinking about your company is largely on their shoulder. Right or wrong, it is a fact. These people can make or break your reputation. So it baffles me that they are often the least empowered.

When a customer has a problem, it should not take having to go to multiple people to have that problem fixed. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that the more people who have to be involved, the more your reputation goes in the toilet even if the issue is resolved.

Harrods in London has a different approach. They empower every employee to assist the customer. No need for a manager to have to come along to say the same thing. They are left to do what they were hired to do, manage.

The American approach has people running in circles, if they can get ahold of anyone at all. Some businesses, particularly online ones, have eliminated any direct contact with customers. They use a crowd sourced approach, which basically means customers answering each others questions. On some things, like how-to, this might work great, but on others it is a very dangerous approach.

People who make purchases have bought a solution, and usually it is because of a person behind it, so if you cut off the person, you are not building brand loyalty, but hard feelings. Just like people don't want to have to press a gazillion buttons to get to a human voice, they don't want to feel like they are no longer of value after a sale has been made.

To build a good reputation businesses are going to have to go to the one person direct approach. This way, they have a name to go with their solution. In it, there are also safe guards for businesses. They know who to deal with if something goes right or wrong versus trying to figure out who did what to provide a solution.

This make take some getting used to, but the personal touch is what customers want today. They are no longer satisfied with only getting great service until the sale is made, and then being left to fend for themselves afterward.