A Culture of Customer Service

At a time when so many businesses are shutting their doors, good customer service can help keep yours open.

Customer service is an often-overlooked solution to weathering slow periods. Investing in strategies that build customer loyalty has a big payback: It leads to repeat customers. And when you gain repeat business, you can easily lower your marketing budget to acquire new customers. You’ll improve your profit margin, enabling your business to grow. After all, the cost of acquiring a new customer is six to seven times that of retaining one, according to a Bain & Company study.

Most people are willing to pay more for good service. Eighty-five percent of consumers said they would be willing to pay more than standard prices to ensure a superior customer service experience, according to a 2010 survey by Harris Interactive and RightNow Technologies.

It’s easy to let great customer service fall by the wayside when you’re concerned about keeping the doors open. But in tough times, great service is more crucial than ever. “Our prices are not always the lowest, and with this economy, that personal touch, the personal service has been why we are still in business while some of our lower-priced competitors are not,” says NFIB member Patti Dynes, owner and president of Lettuce Duit Inc., which manufactures award ribbons, trophies and plaques in Galien, Mich.