Article

Customer Service and Business to Customer Relationship Management
The Discipline
The Daily Practice
Satisfaction and Success
Customer Service is defined as, assistance and other resources that a company provides to the people who buy or use its products and or services. Customer Relationship Management is defined as, the practice of building a strong relationship between a business and its customers and potential customers. Customer Service and Customer Relationship Management are both interwoven in the very fabric that makes a business successful. When a business is successful, the customer wins. When a customer considers themselves a part of the process and a valuable asset to the business, they tend to refer and buy more goods and services. If a customer feels excluded from the process of contributing to the business, they have a tendency to walk away from the business withholding valuable dollars that would otherwise be spent with that business. There is a fine tuned discipline and practice related to Customer Service that leads to a satisfied customer and a successful business.
The Discipline of Customer Service begins with a sincere mission statement and a value proposition that is well supported throughout an organization. Ongoing staff training related to the businesses mission statement and value proposition reinforces the core value of the business. The idea is to have the business mission statement rooted in the everyday function and practices resulting in greater levels of satisfaction. The business may then monitor its growth opportunity and trends relative to the pulse of the customer.
The Daily Practice of Good Customer Service (related to a business mission statement and value proposition) is an integral part of the everyday real life experience with the customer. The customer is a key component in the success of the business. The old adage, “practice makes perfect…” may hold a truth in that, the more a thing is practiced the closer one may come toward realizing the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal of a company may be an increase in net profit, and customer satisfaction levels (internal and external). If the customer is satisfied from an internal perspective, the business will realize stability in employment, greater loyalty and an increase in production. Internal customers tend to work harder if they feel appreciated and valued. External customers buy more if they feel valued. The external customer will also become a more loyal consumer helping the business build its brand and broaden the business demographic. The internal and external customer both lend to the success equation that the business needs in order to increase net profit.
Customer Satisfaction is a win-win for the business and the customer, provided that the focus is always on the customer. There used to be a saying and a belief system that, ”the customer is always right…”. I am in deep disagreement with that statement. The customer makes mistakes and sometimes has ill-conceived plots and schemes that may have a negative impact on the business and other customers (both internal and external). Once again, this is why training is critical to the success of a business and the organization at large.  The business staff needs to understand the dynamic of the customer and how to handle complex situations. Once the dynamic of the customer is understood, internal and external situations are handled properly, resulting in mutual respect and an increase in net profit. The customer may not like the outcome but ultimately they will respect the business decision. Respect is defined as, esteem for a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability, or deference to a right, privilege, or something considered to have certain rights or privileges. Respect between the business and the customer is a good thing to have relative to customer satisfaction.
The Success of a business equates to the proper balance of strategic business planning, internal compliance to the business mission statement and value proposition, training, respect, satisfied customers and flowing profit. The simple equation can only be configured and calculated if, Customer Service is at the core of the daily business practice(s) and training is part of the strategic business plan.
To Greater Success,
Bridgette C.-Lewis
CLC Group
708.829.5100

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