Customers must not be viewed as isolated transactions but rather as the potential lifelong relationship that they represent. Every customer deserves to be treated as your organization’s only customer. Companies cannot afford to spend the time and effort that it takes to develop new business only to lose customers shortly thereafter. In fact, companies should be so outraged when they lose an existing customer that they immediately search for ways to improve themselves so that it never happens again. Think about the effort of bringing in new customers; the way they are courted; how you accommodate their every whim. Then, when they become customers, the honeymoon ends.
Think about your major customers. When they call, everything else is dropped; when they make suggestions, everyone listens; and when they need something done, everyone responds. Now think about all your other customers. We can’t accommodate them because it’s against company policy; we don’t listen to their suggestions because we know better than they do; we can’t take their calls because we’re in meetings; everything that takes a little extra effort is a bother.
Since superior customer service is as much a mind-set as it is an activity, it’s important to define the culture that produces superior service. Such a culture is built on the belief that policy changes should be made to make your customer’s life better, not your own; that your employees do their best work because they care rather than because the competition is making inroads; and that your company’s employees know that their first and foremost job is to service customers, never taking their business for granted.