How not to get fired by your customers

It’s not that difficult to do good business in South Africa. Just do what other businesses don’t do: give good service.

So few businesses really embrace customer service that to give yourself the edge all you need to do is treat your customer with respect.

How many businesses return your calls? How many respond to your emails?

Customer service is king

I recently searched the internet for business card printers. The first one that I contacted said: “You can have two of these three: quality, price, speed.” I had to write twice to get a quote. OK, speed is out. They asked me for details which I had already given them. OK, quality is a no-no. When their final quote came, the price was for the wrong quantity. OK, forget price. How difficult is it to get a quote for printing business cards?

As you know, Sam Walton (of Walmart) said: “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” So I did, I went elsewhere. But I made a careless mistake with the next company: I requested a quote without checking that they were based in South Africa.

Although they were in a time-zone 7 hours away, their online LiveChat really was live (it was 7am in Minneapolis in the US). They said that I would get a quote within 2 hours. I did. When I apologised for the mistake, they told me that they do international deliveries.

Was I impressed with their customer service? You bet I was. I was tempted to place my order with them. (Of course, I now needed the cards rather urgently.)

Building loyalty

Dave Nemeth, South African trend expert recently posted: “Shocking service today, from a bank, car dealership and a medical practice … And people say times are tough! Reboot your business if you still want to be around, regardless of size.”

I’m pleased to say that I eventually did find an efficient and professional business card printer who did an excellent job for me. And I didn’t look elsewhere when I needed a repeat print.

Businesses that don’t look after their customers are like a house of cards, one day they will collapse.


first published in SME South Africa


What can you do to ensure that your customers’ experience not only brings them back with repeat business, but makes them your unpaid ambassador, bringing you referral business?

2015/02/16

CC BY-SA

Click here if you want to discuss how looking after your customers can improve your business.

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