But why does it have to be like this?
Every single thing you build, have built or purchase will succumb to the ageing process. Repairs, renovations, and after-sales service frequently represent a bigger opportunity for profit than the original transaction. The car industry is a case in point: established dealerships make far more from a vehicle’s regular servicing and repairs than from the initial sale, which is probably why, as a whole, they are more efficient at it than other industries.Each time you have a bad experience with any organisation (which you inevitably describe in detail to all and sundry), it can nearly always be ascribed to poor systems and processes throughout the business. And whether you are a one-man band or a mega multi-national, your ultimate reputation and business success will be positively or negatively impacted by how efficiently you:
- Handle enquiries and complaints
- Schedule the necessary actions
- Keep the customer informed of these actions and timings, managing expectations and communicating any unanticipated problems
- Get your operatives to turn up on schedule and complete the work required to the customer’s satisfaction
- Charge costs that are exactly as pre-quoted (rule 1: no horrid shocks)
- Check your customer is satisfied with everything after the event
- And if you do encounter difficulties, howsoever caused, over-compensate
It’s not a long or complicated list, is it? As Basil Fawlty might put it (arch proponent of the art of customer service – not): special subject, the bleeding obvious. But very few operators manage more than a two- or three-star rating. Yet here lie the basic ingredients to the most effective marketing tool available for growing your business: customer referrals.If you want to make your business fly, spend some time developing an operations manual that all of your staff work to, with special importance attached to customer service and communications.
Not sure where to start? Read “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber. Or ask me.
Growth strategies a speciality.
David Croydon: 01844 237450/07836 334150