Saturday, February 24, 2007

Customer a king or a pest!

Customer is always right! Customer is the King! These are some of the catch lines that businesses all over the world say to their clients but do these catch phrases really mean what it says? For some businesses these are true and for some they are just means to an end i.e. getting more customers.

First impressions are most of the time very important especially in regards to business concerns. The way you are treated at a firm or even at the first point of contact always make a lasting impression. This impression always stays with you much beyond your particular business at that time and the service definitely stays on mind whether you get a great service or you are treated as a nuisance who came to disturb them. This means it is not only the person with customer care tag in their designation who leaves this impression but any individual of a company who comes in contact with a customer. And this holds true for any business whether it is a restaurant, a bank or even a clinic. In fact in a place like clinic it is utmost important for the person working there to make a individual feel at home. Most of the people who go to clinics are apprehensive and need assurance in any form and mostly a smile will go a long way to do so.

Customer care is one of the most important aspects of any business that its owner wants to do well. It is the best form of advertising. A word of mouth advertising, which is free in terms of money but asks for a different kind of input from these businesses that of good service.

Let us take a look at one such sector, that of banking in India. Banking has become an integral part of the modern life but it is very difficult to find ‘the ideal bank’. In fact in today’s cutthroat world where everyone is trying to lure customers by offering various add services. Giving a good customer service becomes quite important. Even one man can make a lot of difference to our perceptions of the company. One man’s service made me think the bank I was using was a great one but when he left the bank I found to my dismay that it was all in my idealist mind that thought the best of the situation. Someone I know had taken a home loan and submitted all the necessary papers along with the post dated cheques, the employee of the bank looses the whole set of cheques and paper and didn’t even bother to let the customer know for a week! In India buying or making your own home is still considered one of the most important and biggest investments in a person’s life, so when a bank gives inadequate service it really is disheartening.

Some businesses provide good service when they are just setting up and after they get established and get regular clientele the standard of service just falls. But while this is from the side of the customers, the other side also has to be taken into consideration. There are customers who tend to take the service for granted and become over demanding. They forget that employees have limits and expect the earth for whatever money they are spending. So really may be there is very thin line between a customer becoming a pest and being pleasant.

Good marketing does get you the initial customers but to keep them there and keep them happy one needs to provide them with reasonably good service. So no matter how often over bearing customers comes their way, they still have to give the benefit of the doubt to the new customer. A simple way to handle this might be for each representative of a company treat their customers the way they expect to be treated as a customer.