Friday, September 13, 2013
- by Monica D. Parker
We often talk about how important customer service is to your business. The key here is to earn referrals and repeat business by offering exceptional customer service. Okay, okay - I know I’m not talking rocket science, but hear me out.
I found myself recently in a place where customer service is critical, but I bet you haven’t thought about this industry in those terms. I spent the last two weeks traversing our great nation’s healthcare system. As awful as it is to find yourself in an emergency health situation, the service these professionals provide to you and your family is a powerful example that excellent customer service matters. Luckily, the last time I was knee-deep in this industry was years ago in a time (at least in my experience) where you and your loved ones’ treatment was one that you were not involved in, but instead, you were taken care of by doctors and nurses with little time remaining for you to understand or be involved.
This time was different. At each intersection and with each healthcare professional, I was treated with respect and given the opportunity to learn more and ask questions. Throughout two weeks of stress, I always felt that my team of healthcare professionals cared for my family. I would tell you to use my team in Gig City second…yep, my team.
Sometimes in these situations, you have less control over who cares for you. However more often than not, you do have a choice. And the hospitals, doctors and healthcare facilities fight very hard for your business. Look around and you will see local providers advertising, sponsoring and fundraising. So, whom do you choose and then recommend?
Hopefully you have a referral, but if not, you make the best decision you can. From that point, the way each staff member treats you makes every difference to your overall experience. If you have an excellent experience, you truly want your friends and family to receive that same level of service. In our marketing meetings, you say you want more referrals, but read that last sentence again. How much more personal and therefore powerful is it to be intertwined into that particular section of your customer’s life? You are a part of the family so the referral is easy – almost second nature.
The bottom line: no matter what industry you are in, customer service matters. So, look at your organization from top to bottom and ask yourself the tough questions. Am I exceeding my customers’ expectations? Does my janitor say hello and go the extra mile to help our customer? Are my top folks taking time out of their day to talk with our customers? What type of training do I have in place to ensure that my team understands how to evolve from doing their job to being my customer’s personal advocate?
Now that my family is on the other side of this, I am thankful – not only to the actual medical service the hospital, doctors and nurses provided, but also for the funny janitor who promised to clean my house, the elderly volunteer who insisted I take a banana popsicle (banana, really?) and the list goes on.
Today, take a few minutes to walk around your business or think about the services you provide and ask yourself, “How do my customers perceive the way my team and I treat them?” All businesses are not modeled to provide five-star service, but that is all the more reason to work diligently to provide it. Competition for your customer is coming from every direction and is tougher than ever. Customer service is back, and it’s one of the most rewarding and effective ways to edge out your competition.
Monica Parker – Connect Marketing – www.connnectchattanooga.com – 451-6372
Monica Parker is the newest member of the Connect Marketing team. She is originally from northwest Alabama and graduated from UTC. After years working in the restaurant industry, she launched and managed the special events department at the Hunter Museum of American Art for six years. She spent the last two years at BMW of Chattanooga where she focused on advertising management, online marketing, CRM management, and reputation management. With this diverse background, Monica brings her passion of helping businesses grow to Connect Marketing.