One of the most important lessons you can teach yourself and your employees is the answer to this question: ‘Who really pays your salaries? ’In many organizations, employees will do anything to please their bosses, and in a small business, they will do anything to please YOU.
The truth is that beyond the initial capital investment that the business owner makes at the start of a business, the capital that funds the business into perpetuity comes from customers. It means that each month, it is our CUSTOMERS that pay our salaries. They are therefore our most important stakeholders; and your cardinal focus as a business owner is to keep them happy so as to keep the salary payments and much more coming. To do this means that your priorities and focus need to be built around your customers.
Here are a few points that can help you and your employees sharpen your focus around your customers:
#1: The Naira Value of Service:
A very practical way to bring discussions about the importance of customer service to life is to bring it down to naira and kobo. Research done by the American Consumer Affairs Council suggests the following important statistics for customer service: 1)Typically, 25% of customers are dissatisfied with service in any given business; 2) Among the dissatisfied, 70% of those whose complaints are not satisfactorily resolved will not continue doing business with the organization; 3) Each dissatisfied person will tell 10 people about a negative experience; and 4) Of those told 2% will not purchase services from that organization again.
Based on these statistics, a business with N5,000,000 annual revenue and 500 customers will lose about N1,125,000 per annum as revenue due to bad customer service, representing about 22.5% of its potential revenue gone. Imagine how many more salaries and raw material input that company could have purchased with that N1,125,000. Your role as a business owner is to improve this statistic in your business by paying close attention to customer service.
#2: Bosses vs. Customers:
If there is anyone that your employees should be sucking up to – it is your customers. Many times however, you find employees jumping hills and mountains to please you the business owner even to the detriment of your customers. Often this is because business owners create a culture where they have so deified themselves that everyone else including customers are secondary. As you grow as an organization, this culture of deifying bosses gets worse, especially as more bosses emerge under you. Your employees continue to focus on pleasing you and other bosses and fail to please the person who truly pays their salaries – their customers. If your employees made as desperate an effort to please all customers as they did to please you, imagine how satisfied your customers will be.
#3: The Best Problem to Have:
Is to have many happy customers running around and trying to do business with your company, spending their money on your products and services – giving you headaches and sleepless nights due to their needs and orders and telling their friends to “trouble” you in the same way. If you gave bad service in your organization, you will not have the problem of meeting the needs and demands of your customers and their friends. Your dream as a business owner is to have customers who have needs and demands and give you the opportunity to respond to them. The opposite is a real nightmare – not having customers because of the poor quality of service that you offer.
#4: Show Appreciation:
In light of all of these truths about customer service and its implication for your business, it is important for you as a business owner to do a number of things to transform service in your organization and use it as a tool to compete within your industry. A simple way to do this is simply to show appreciation to your customers and think about many more ways of saying ‘Thank You”. You have to make this a culture – a way of life in your organization and all the other chapters of this book will help you with practical steps to take in ensuring that you are in Customer Heaven forever.
Are you ready to have the best problem in the world? If you haven’t begun to have this problem yet, you need to examine the culture of service in your organization. Be brutally honest about the issues raised in this article, especially about who wears the crown – you or the customers? The person who pays the salaries should wear the crown. Anything thing else is unacceptable!