Want to drive dramatic and sustainable growth without spending lots of money? Then make customer service your top priority.
Delivering great customer service drives growth in three ways. First, it encourages your customers to come more often and to spend more with you. Second, it keeps them loyal; the rate at which customers leave you for competitors will fall, and any new business will add to your sales, rather than just replacing those you currently lose. And third, it brings you new customers faster through both reputation and recommendation.
Improving customer service isn’t complicated. It’s not easy, but it is very simple, as long as you remember this one golden rule:
You’ll never get happy customers with unhappy employees.
Great service happens when people who really care about their customers are given the freedom and support to do what they know is right. And there are three things that you can do to make that possible:
First-line management: James Timpson (the cobbler CEO) says the most important thing in his business is having “a bloody good manager in every shop”. I couldn’t agree more. In all my years of analysing performance in retail, leisure and hospitality, quality of manager has been the single biggest factor in both sales and service.
Recruit for personality: you can train skills, but you can’t train attitude, so recruit for it. Not just in all of your customer-facing roles, but in every role. The service your front-line teams get from Head Office sets the tone for all of the interactions they have with customers.
Motivate from within: all the evidence suggests motivation is driven by just four factors: purpose, autonomy, recognition and personal growth. You and your mangers need set the standard, and provide all four motivating factors if you want to get the very best service from your teams. If you want to know more, there’s a whole article on this here.
Bottom Line: Improving service won’t cost you money; but it will cost time, energy and attention. Next time you’re out on the front line, listen carefully and ask yourself: is your organisation finding the right people, and inspiring and motivating them to do what they do best?