But if you asked me what business I’m in, I’d tell you something different. Because I’m in the customer service business. And if for some reason you’re not, then you may not be in business for long.
We spend a lot of time talking about innovations or design or market share or whatever we’re talking about, and we forget the reason we’re talking about those things in the first place – the customers. We innovate to provide our customers with better products or services. We craft meticulous designs to improve the aesthetic or functional value of whatever we’re producing. We seek a larger share of the market in order to serve more customers.
So it always comes back to customer service, but that can be easy to forget. And forgetting can be fatal.
Here’s one example. We’ve been with the same internet service provider (ISP) since we relocated to downtown Jackson (a great place to visit, start a business or just hang by the way!). At the time, they were the only game in town, which is fine. We dealt with what was slightly slower broadband speed that was reliable without many complaints – until about two weeks ago.
I was informed by one of our team members that the Internet, and consequently the VOIP phone lines were down, on a Friday. These things happen. I was in Richmond, Virginia, so there wasn’t a whole lot I could do. I told the team to put in a ticket, get as much work done as you could without the Internet, and take the rest of the day.
For some reason, our ISP elected to send out a tech on Sunday. Although I appreciate the effort, we’re not open on Sundays, so it was a wasted trip. Needless to say, on Monday, we’re back in the office with no phone or Internet service. A quick call to AT&T, and I’m told that no one knows when a tech will be dispatched, and I should just wait for a call – that never came.
So I decided then and there to switch providers.
The fact that the provider we now use is faster is inconsequential. The lack of concern that our business had been without phone and Internet service for 48 hours is extremely consequential.
Did we lose clients? No. Did it hinder productivity? A bit, but we’re resourceful. We figured it out.
Did it change the way I looked at our ISP? Definitely.
If you look at your customers as just customers, then things like this will happen. However, if you look at your customers as partners, then your perspective on the level of type of service your provide changes. Your customers rely on your business for some essential element of what they do in order to succeed. They understand that things go wrong, but they also expect you to provide clarity and offer reliable solutions. And while you’re doing all of that – sound like you care.
Hopefully it goes without saying that we care about all of our clients. Our job is to make their job just a little bit easier. We do that by being courteous, responsive, and sometimes a little obstinate. We do those things because our chief concern is ensuring they receive the best service possible.
So, as long as Fahrenheit Creative Group is in business, we’ll be in the customer service business.
You should join us.