A Solid Frontline Improves Your Bottom Line

blog client delight

A Solid Frontline Improves Your Bottom Line

Many times in business, whether we’re supporting a local brick and mortar or an online establishment, our daily interactions are not with the founder or CEO of the company. Sometimes we connect with the manager, but more often than not, our dealings are with the support staff.

As customers, we associate the company with its employees. Our opinion of customer service (the frontline) contributes to our views regarding the business.

This is important for any entrepreneur because a solid frontline improves your bottom line.

Can Chains Get Away With Poor Customer Service?

Recently, I was at a local Starbucks and I told the Barista behind the counter that both bathrooms were out of toilet paper. Instead of apologizing and immediately rectifying the situation, she replied: “Oh, alright.” – with an eye-roll. Can you imagine if you were out on a date and that happened? 

According to American Express, 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company.

It's common to tell a friend or 2 about something positive that happened with a company. However, think of a time when you were appalled by a customer service experience. How many people did you share it with?

One study showed "Dissatisfied customers typically tell nine to 15 other people about their experience; some tell 20 or more." -White House Office of Consumer Affairs

You can see how negative customer service experiences can have a powerful affect on your bottom line.

When Support Is Only Available Via Email

I was supporting a client during one of her launches. She had a membership with a company that specialized in advanced software technology. The particular app integrated the CMS (customer management software) with her online webinar platform. 

As you know, during any launch it’s a time of increased labor, attention to details, investment, and stress. A time where it’s imperative for all to go as PERFECTLY as possible!

Everything was successful during the tests. However, our first invitation to the mailing list failed. I reached out to the company's customer support team for guidance, providing all the necessary details to properly troubleshoot. 

The reply was quite lame at first. I persisted, highlighting the urgency of the matter. A different support person reached out with a bogus “catch-all” response. Finally, I CC’d the owner of the company and received the real answer, which was that there was a global break in their system.

What’s my point?

Had his frontline honestly communicated that information to me on the first reply, I could have adjusted the campaign and found a resolution. Things should not have to escalate to the point of creating a frustrated customer before care and action are taken.

We choose to find an alternative to their service after the launch. They lost a monthly client thus affecting their bottom line.

The #1 reason customers switch to a new brand is feeling unappreciated. -New Voice Media

Our customer service team is crucial.

As owners, it’s our responsibility to train and support our staff. Infusing our company culture, briefing them on our most recent policies and procedures, and positively reinforcing good behavior should be standard practice. How our customers/clients feel about us is a direct result of their experience with the people who represent our company. In most cases, the people on our frontline are the face of our brand. So, choose wisely.

Remember, it’s much easier to please and delight our customers on the first try vs. backpedaling to smooth things over after a poor experience.

In Conclusion…

If you are a team of one than you are your frontline. I suggest having your vision, mission, and “why” written in a place that you review often. From startups to seasoned entrepreneurs we can all benefit from refreshing our motivating drivers. This way when our patience is tested, we can easily shift our mindset to offer the best service possible.

If you have a team, I’d suggest putting a check and balance system in place to improve your customer experience.  I’m a fan of ZenDesk for this.

ZenDesk is customer service software that allows you and your team to manage one inbox professionally and efficiently. It provides a unified communication frontline. You can create macros (which are similar to auto-responders), build a support guide for your clients (think of it like an advanced FAQ doc where you can even embed how-to videos), and keep track of your analytics like ticket response time, how many touchpoints it took to get a resolution and more.

Whether you’re a solopreneur or a larger company what can you do to improve your frontline today?

Until next time…breathe joy,

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