The Sunday Mail
In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein.
It is 2020, customer service is proving to be the big differentiator between winners and losers.
Customers are more intrigued by the support service that they get from an organisation before they even do product consideration or check out the prices of their preferred product or service.
Most 2020 customers are likely to repeat business with an organisation that offer phenomenal customer service and would not hesitate to recommend that organisation to the next customer wanting the same service or product.
But what is customer service?
According to study.com, customer service is the act of taking care of the customer’s needs by providing and delivering professional, helpful, high quality service and assistance before, during and after the customer’s requirements are met.
Thus, exceptional customer service will go beyond brand power. Big brands are losing it out to small players because they are unable to concentrate on micro audiences who require all their attention. This is despite that customers are subjected to big organisations that enjoy massive brand awareness and have a certain appeal which overshadows the smaller businesses to compete with them.
It is actually theses small organisations that appeal more to the customers because of their ability to give personal and undivided attention to their target market which comprises of niche markets or rather micro audiences. Also, the quality of customer service provided by serious small enterprises cannot be equated to big organisations which normally are unable to provide that personalisation required by their customers.
Large corporates deal with a huge number of customers and although they try to have one-on-one customer service, their large clientele base makes it impossible for them to meet every individual customer on a more personal level.
However, great customer service helps small organisations in a number of ways such as:
Building a reputable reputation
Reputation is everything for any organisation whether big or small. It is, however, the small business that are still growing that must put more effort in building a credible brand through positive reputation. Moreover, large organisations have far more customers that they service compared to small organisations who may be servicing just a few hundred customers while on the other hand they may be losing a few customers due to poor service.
Thus, large corporates’ loss of a few customers due to poor customer service does not have as much impact on their reputation as it does to small organisations. It is, therefore, important for small organisations that are still trying to create a positive perception in the market to be more careful in the way they treat and handle their customers’ needs.
Well serviced customers help in the maintenance and establishment of a good reputation while building a positive brand. An organisation’s reputation and customer perception is a product of the way it treats and handles its customers.
Small organisations fight twice as hard to build a strong reputation because once that is achieved it strengthens its brand and customers are assured of receiving positive customer experience.
Trust is earned
Most successful business relationships are based on trust. In most cases, the owners of small businesses are the same people who will be heavily involved in the day-to-day running of the business. This gives them an advantage of seeing their customers on a regular basis and are able to have direct interactions.
Indulging in personal interactions with people that are directly supporting your business through their patronage by bringing in the much-needed dollar helps in building long-lasting business relationships.
Customers like the idea that whom they do business with knows them on a personal level. It gives them some sense of belonging to the organisation and in turn the same customers tend to develop high levels of trust and confidence. When customers relate directly with the business owners, they treat it as a special kind of relationship, that will make the owners of these small businesses to prioritise their needs and wants and will do everything in their power to delight their audience. It is with no doubt that these customers are given special preference and service.
Due to their proximity to the owner, these customers know a lot more about the organisation’s capability to deliver on their promise and do not hesitate to reference the organisation to others. Their loyalty to the business is also unquestionable. When there is a positive relationship with the customers, they actively promote the organisation’s products and services through word of mouth.
Building a clientele base
Most large organisations that have built their reputation, they have a huge clientele base hence, they invest less in recruiting and building a new customer base. They enjoy the benefits of marketing economies of scale in terms of pricing, advertising costs, accessibility and quality. This makes their products and services more competitive as they seem to be cheaper and customers with a shoe-string budget and have experienced poor customer service at these organisations do not really have many options but are forced to continue dealing with these big stores.
It is, however, a big test for small organisations who are expected to build their clientele base from the bottom up the ladder. They are expected to maintain or increase the customer base but never to lose any customer along the way.
Once a customer is lost to a big organisation, they are most likely never going to get it back. A growing client base or a diminishing customer base are differentiated by the quality of customer service that an organisation offers to its various micro audiences.
Thus, provision of great customer service is the only opportunity that small businesses can use if they are to poach customers from big organisations and increase their customer base.
Cresencia Marjorie Chiremba is a marketing enthusiast with a strong passion for customer service. For comments and suggestions, she can be reached on [email protected] or on 0712 979 461.