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6 customer service mantras from successful business leaders

Customers are one of the biggest pillars on which the success of a business hinges, and as such leaders really need to give them the highest priority. By Satyaki Sarkar

In today’s competitive business world the success and failure of a business hinges on a number of factors, but perhaps none of them are as critical as the company’s customers. Being the primary source of revenue and profit, customer satisfaction is vital to a business venture, and, therefore, quality customer care and experience is can be defining factors in a company finding success. Here, we share some business lessons from leaders who’ve been there, done that and have some tips to give.

Dan Simons

1. Dan Simons: Know how to read your customers
The co-owner of Founding Farmers, one of the most popular restaurants in America, Dan Simons has repeatedly stressed the importance of knowing one’s customers on a deeper level in order to provide exceptional customer service. According to him, the core of great customer service involves being able to read customers to give them what they really want, and how they want it, by tuning in to their emotional needs. One of the reasons behind his restaurants’ huge success is that the team is trained to not only do what customers ask, but go a step further and gauge their non-verbal signs and emotions so as to exhibit empathy and create a personalised experience.
Photograph courtesy: Dan Simons


2. Melonie Dodaro: Goodwill is everything
Canadian author and entrepreneur Melonie Dodaro is a vocal advocate for the importance of goodwill in business. According to her, goodwill and reputation might be intangible objects, but ultimately they are essential to the success of any business. While quality services and products might be enough to attract customers and reel them in, it is the way you treat them that helps build loyalty as well as confidence and faith in the product or service. All of which are key to building a solid reputation and retaining customers. Therefore, companies need to place importance on these intangible factors, which include courtesy, respect, compassion, and goodwill, if they want to develop their customer base and build their business further.
Photograph courtesy: Melonie Dodaro


3. Frank Eliason: Listen to customers
Eliason is the Global Director of the Client Experience Team at Citi, and acccording to him, customer response and feedback are both critical to a business’ success. Companies that place a greater level of importance on listening to customers and acknowledging their concerns often discover that it has provided them with innovative ways of improving their products and services, while also helping build customers’ faith. As a result, they are able to provide exceptional customer service that not only caters to their customers’ needs, but also gain valuable opinion and suggestions so as to build a mutually beneficial positive environment where both parties are satisfied.
Photograph courtesy: Frank Eliason


4. Zig Ziglar: Unhappy customers are an opportunity
American author, salesman, and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar famously said that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it, as they present a huge opportunity for more business. Ziglar believed in looking at unhappy or aggravated customers as a potential opportunity to learn, rather than a problem. Ziglar felt that if a customer is unhappy and shares his unhappiness and the reason behind it with the organisation, he is actually invested in the company as he took the trouble to inform them of his distress. If not, he would have simply taken up the next best offer he was getting from a competitor. Ziglar time and again stressed the importance of valuing unhappy customers so as to transform their distress into a pleasant grievance redressal procedure that further cements the relationship between the customer and the company.
Photograph courtesy: Zig Ziglar


5. Bill Hambrecht: Treat even non-buyers well
Bill Hambrecht is the Chairman and Founder of WR Hambrecht + Co, and had been instrumental in the popularisation of the Open IPO model for companies. Hambrecht has always emphasised that all customers need to be treated equally, irrespective of who they are and whether they buy anything. Several companies tend to neglect customers who they feel won’t be making a purchase, in favour of those who will. As a result, they end up losing out on an excellent opportunity to convert them into future customers who would help the business prosper and succeed. Not only that, it also helps build brand image and uplifts the organisation in the eyes of its customers, who recommend it to others, thereby improving business.
Photograph: Financial Times/Flickr


6. Giorgio Armani: Success shouldn’t change your values
World famous designer Giorgio Armani once said, “In the end, the customer doesn’t know or care if you are small or large as an organisation. He or she only focuses on the garment hanging on the rail in the store.” Armani is emphasising that just because a business has grown it shouldn’t treat it’s customers with any less important than before. Every effort should be made to ensure the products and services are of the highest quality. Otherwise it doesn’t matter how big a brand you are, you could lose majority of your customers in the blink of an eye.
Photograph: Lorenzo Bozzi/Creative Commons

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