There are precious few things a business owner can completely control end to end. I would go so far as to say there is only one: customer service.
It doesn’t matter whether you sell digitally or physically, online or retail, in person or over the phone – all products have supply chains and distribution channels that are the sum total of various participants, many of which you will have no direct control over.
As a result, I’d like to focus our time around challenging you to think about customer service as the one aspect you can not only control every part of, but that can ultimately become your strongest competitive advantage.
We’ve all heard the story about if you’re in a forrest and a bear starts chasing you, you only have to be faster then the slowest person to survive. This is how most people treat customer support. What’s the minimum I can do to get by? How can I do what needs to be done so I can get back to what matters to me? Further, it is infinitely more complex when you start getting emotion involved as we all know that relationships with people are hard work, much less relationships with people that may not be particularly happy with you or your product/service.
So I’d like to give you the framework by which we manage interactions with our customers in addition to sharing how several successful companies manage customer support and how that drives their further success.
What Is Your Standard?
The first thing you need is a standard by which to make decisions. How are you going to treat people? What lengths will you go to in order to win over a disgruntled customer? What is your policy for abuse? The list goes on and on.
The standard is important as it sets the tone for how future decisions will be made. Success in any endeavor is not the result of dumb luck or being in the right place at the right time but rather making decisions ahead of time, while the conditions are still unfavorable, as to what you are going to do in a given situation.
We all know the reality of working on a product before there is any revenue to show for it. That same drive that pushes us to work on our product must also carry over to how we treat the people using our product, and to do his effectively we need to have a standard.
I will use my own life as an example. My life has been transformed by Jesus Christ. His words have been life changing to me, and the interesting thing is that every time I re-read them, I find new meaning in what are seemingly simple phrases.
“It is more blessed to give then to receive.”
“Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
Principles such as these have become an enormous component of how I’ve set my personal standard, and it is important that you have one. It might have its roots in faith, the example of a mentor, or perhaps an organization you admire. If you don’t have a standard by which to treat others, you need to search for a starting point that resonates with you.
One small caveat is that it must represent a higher calling then what you can do on your own. For instance, you can’t just say “I want to treat people well,” and call that a standard. Everyone has good intentions at one point or another, but the standard does much more for you. It frames the reality of how you will deal with future challenges by providing a blueprint ahead of time.
The takeaway is that you need to have a model by which to replicate your own interactions with other people. This standard will be important as it will give you the framework for how you handle customer service.
If your standard is a person, take time to learn every facet of what makes them tick and what you are drawn to in them? What is it about what they do or how they act with regards to others that you want to emulate in your business? How have people responded to their style and approach?
If your standard is a business, take time to learn their process. How do they hire? How do they train? What is at the core of their philosophy that creates the culture you are so drawn to? Learn the intricate details of their operation then apply the same principles to your product or industry.
Join us September 30 as we walk through answers to these questions and many others. We’ll take a look at various companies from small to large and share their people-centric approaches to business and how it drives not only growth in their bottom line but does one critically important thing for customers that is so easily overlooked. I’ll share with you what that one thing is, and how it will make or break your business.
This article was originally published on community.envato.com by Kyle Wakefield (XTheme).