Manners Cost You Nothing

By joanne | 25th January | Marketing Ideas, Marketing Skills, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Training

Unfortunately, Cumbria has been badly hit in recent new stories – Carlisle came 129th out of 129 cities in terms of customer service and the BBC used just one example of poor service the other morning, taken from West Cumbria:  A customer had been waiting an hour for a sandwich and, when they complained, they were told that if they wanted fast food they should have gone to McDonald’s!

I was born and bred in Cumbria, so I know these are isolated incidents and there are plenty of businesses who do offer great service.  I also know the rest of the country has examples equal to these but why, as a nation, have we come to expect poor service?

As customers, it’s usually the person you first meet in a business that creates your impression of that company.  For example, in a hotel the reception staff are crucial.  In a restaurant, the waiters and waitresses are critical, and for companies who speak to customers by phone rather than face-to-face, the telephone staff are the most important.

Unfortunately, these positions are generally low-paid and held in low regard by the public.  (This is quite the opposite in the United States, who lead the world in customer service.)  So, should we be paying more attention to that first impression?

It’s been shown that businesses with good customer service grow twice as fast as those with poor service, so should you be leaving anything to chance?

Customer Service can be the most cost effective form of marketing your company – it’s one area we look at first when we begin working with a consultancy customer, for two reasons:

  1. If you could improve your customer retention by just 5%, the effect on your bottom line is between 25% and 125%
  2. And, if your customer service is poor, why attract more customers in, just to upset them?  It’s better to solve the problem first

Remember – manners cost nothing.  We should all be grateful that our customers choose us – and thank them for it.

Check back tomorrow for more ideas on cost-effective marketing strategies to work into your plan for 2010.

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