Customer Service and Customer Satisfaction
Great customer service makes a lasting impression on every user of your product or service. The impression can be so strong it increases the lifetime value of the customer while bring new customers through a referral channel.
If your small, great customer service can be the single thing that differentiates your company from your competition. Zappos used the customer service angle to build an incredible company that was finally sold to Amazon for $1.2 Billion. Zappos secret was to go above and beyond for customers. In doing this, customers wrote amazing testimonials for them. Zappos attracted future customers through their interactions with their current customers.
Zappos acquirer, Amazon, is similar in their customer centric approach. Amazon Prime for mothers, Amazon's mission statement, their customer service awards, and customer service compliments emphasize their focus on customer service.
Great customer service is something humans crave. In How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie explains how everyone wants to feel important. We crave others to appreciate us. This hidden quirk can be utilized to help you (in dealing with others) and your company to be incredibly successful. However, be sincere with your compliments and service. If you are disingenuous, and it is detected, it will back fire.
Customer Service, Large and Small
Startups can use customer service to differentiate from their more established competitors. Employees notice how the executives and founders treat the customers and will follow their lead. People always want to please their leaders and if their leaders value the customers, so will they.
As a company grows, founders are replaced by middle management. The organizational structure of a large companies can't carry the founder's DNA. The negative attitude of one member of an organization transfers virally. The front line employees, those who deal with customers, don't have day-to-day interaction with the people who care about the companies reputation. If left unmonitored, a single person on the front line can change the way a company feels about customers. Unlike a large organization, a startup can quarantine the infection, by firing the employee, before the attitude spreads.
Some more established companies have begun to adopt a customer centric focus. They've started to see how treating customers with affection can spread virally and transform their customers into proponents of their company.
This video is titled Why LEGO is the BEST Company in the World. The title alone, chosen by it's creator, conveys an amazing message that marketing teams kill for. At the time of writing, this video had over 650,000 views. A video created by an act of kindness by Lego has now either created or reinforced a thought in others that Lego is an amazing company.
Poor Customer Service
Poor customer service can have the opposite effect. I recently had a horrible customer service experience at a restaurant. The experience changed the way I felt about the restaurant. The positive experiences I had before couldn't remove the negative experience. I had previously suggested the restaurant to others, however, I won't do that anymore. The experience was so offsetting that I won't be going to the restaurant again and I will deter others from it. The restaurant has turned me into a detractor of their business.
Customer service is how your company's name travels among groups and between tribes. The way you treat customers will be remembered regardless of your product or service. People want to use companies whom they like.