Magazine article Black Enterprise

With a Smile: Customer Service Affects Every Aspect of Your Business

Magazine article Black Enterprise

With a Smile: Customer Service Affects Every Aspect of Your Business

Article excerpt

Providing an excellent consumer experience is essential to building and maintaining a thriving business. Poor customer service is among the top reasons customers desert businesses, never to return, according to a study by the Small Business Administration.

"The customer buying decision is as emotional as it is rational," says Chris Bryant, founder of Rapport Strategies Group (www.MrChrisBryant.com), a customer service and personal branding consulting firm in Pasadena, California. "And we'll drive further and pay more to get what makes us feel good."

Bryant, a former training director and spokesman for Nordstrom department store and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co., advises his clients to first develop a clearly defined set of core values. Noting that disengaged employees cost the U.S. economy $382 billion a year in lost productivity, he also recommends hiring employees who are naturally good with people and then regularly rewarding them.

Bryant says the key is learning to anticipate a client's needs before they even know they have them, something he calls the "wow factor."

Wowing clients transformed Ryan Taylor's Los Angeles-based custom clothing business, DROBE (www.drobe.com), so much that sales increased from about $90,000 a year in 2000, when he started the company, to more than $500,000 last year. "We anticipated that our clients were going to want a personal stylist, which became critical to our success," says Taylor.

At its core, excellent customer service is really about meeting a consumer's needs with a quality product and exceeding their service expectations in a memorable way. …

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