A previous blog post discussed questions you can ask customers so as to improve their future experiences. This post takes that same topic to the next level. It focuses on you and your staff. It seeks to encourage you to think about how you perceive your own customer service efforts.
As a long-time provider of wholesale sunglasses, we have had our fair share of growing pains. We strive every day to provide the kind of customer service our clients demand. Do we always get it right? No. Every business makes mistakes, including us. But we are constantly trying to figure out how we can do things better.
One of the ways we do that is to ask ourselves some tough customer service questions. The five listed below are questions you should be asking yourself as well.
1. Is the customer priority #1?
Business is a tricky proposition. Companies exist to make money, first and foremost. But in order to do so, they need customers. Therefore, customer satisfaction and profit are constantly vying to be the top priority. Ask yourself where you stand on this.
Is the customer your number one priority? If not, what occupies the top position. There is no right or wrong answer here. The point is to help you evaluate your priorities.
2. How are customer service problems handled?
Next, ask yourself how customer service problems are handled. Hopefully, you or a member of your team handles things with a smile and a genuine desire to make sure the customer walks away satisfied. If that's not the case, every issue represents a potentially lost customer.
Remember that designer sunglasses are sold all over the country. This is to say that your industry is highly competitive. If you are not handling customer service problems well, you're not competing well either.
3. How often do customer service problems arise?
In a perfect world, all of your customers would be perfectly happy all of the time. There would never be any long faces or complaints. Customers would never demand refunds. But this world is far from perfect. Therefore, you have to expect issues to come up.
The question is this: how often do customer service problems arise? Whether it's us selling wholesale sunglasses or you selling them at retail, customer service issues should not be the norm. They will pop up every now and again, but you shouldn't be dealing with them every day.
4. How flexible are you and your staff?
If there is any element of customer service that could be considered critical, it would be flexibility. Customers can be unhappy for just about any reason. Sometimes their unhappiness is reasonable while other times it's not. In the end, it doesn't matter. Unhappy customers are unhappy regardless of whether or not you agree.
Why bring this up? Because effective customer service requires flexibility. You and your staff have to be willing to bend over backwards here and go the extra mile there. The more expensive your designer sunglasses are, the more flexibility your customers expect.
5. Are you in it for the long haul?
Believe it or not, how well you perform in the customer service department is influenced by your expectations of your own long-term success. If you are in business for the long haul, you're going to need to make an extra effort to guarantee customer satisfaction. That's just the way it works.
Customer service is the linchpin of both wholesale and retail. We do whatever we can to make sure our customers are happy. Hopefully, you and your staff do the same.