It’s often said that the most effective salespeople in any business are its customers. A few well-placed words from a current client to a prospect can do more to win a deal than even the smoothest salesman.
By the same token the kind of slating that would make a TripAdvisor moderator blush from a disgruntled client can undo years of good work.
So good customer service, as highlighted in our Briefing, is key to running a successful business.
Of course, creating an unpaid network of advocates for your company is the holy grail, but the problem with maintaining good customer service is that you can’t just turn it on and off – it’s 24/7, even if your factory isn’t.
I remember one boss of a smallish printing business telling me that most important person in the chain of customer service was his delivery driver, because he was the last person to speak to a customer. So if Stan the van got out of the wrong side of bed that morning then the customer’s only memory of the order would be the mardy driver.
He had a point.
It’s not just your customer service team that needs to be charged with keeping customers informed and happy, it has to be the responsibility of everyone in the business from the principal down – because anyone can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
So perhaps we could take a leaf out of this issue’s interview subject, ProCo’s Jon Bailey, who ensures his clients are never far from his management team’s thoughts, by letting his customers sit in on board meetings – in cardboard cut-out form at least.
And if any of those featured customers start misbehaving, you have the added bonus of an instant target for your frustration – just remember to destroy the evidence before the next press pass.