In 1980 I released Feelings the world’s first customer service program based on a very simple concept. When you treat a customer like a king or queen they come back, spend more with you, and bring their friends. This is the foundation of great customer service. When customer service is poor customers don’t come back and they also tell their friends.
In the last 4 years during the COVID pandemic customer service across the world has gotten much worse. Frankly, it rarely exists. The most powerful method of marketing and advertising is positive word of mouth.
This week my wife, Pat, and I were driving home and I saw a huge billboard for Carbones Pizza. When in college I frequented them a lot. I did not know they had a location in Bloomington. The is the 4th largest city in Minnesota with about 90,000 people.
I started to read the online reviews and I was shocked at how bad they were. On Sunday I mentioned it to my nephew Carbones Pizza reviews and he told me the one in St Paul was even worse. I have never figured out how a company like this can survive. The billboard has to cost at least $3000 a month. Today with the Internet thousands of people will see feedback on your firm. Spend money training your staff to deliver great customer service. Superior customer service is the most powerful and least expensive way to grow.
In 2024 focus on increasing sales through incredible awesome customer service. Everyone must be trained in customer service. I MEAN EVERYONE. No exceptions. You have 2-3 seconds with a customer. NO high school or college in the world will provide any customer service courses. The chance of you finding an employee who has been trained well in customer service skills and attitudes is slim. If you want effective customer-driven and customer-centric employees it is your responsibility to train and develop them.
Service Quality Institute has over 20 programs you can use that are not very expensive. They are easy to implement and they work. We have a No Ifs, Ands, or Buts Money Back Guarantee. Try any of our programs and after training your entire staff if you do not like the results return the product for a complete refund. In the last 43 years, we have had two returns totaling less than $800. Our programs change attitudes and behaviors, teach the art of customer service, and build employee morale and teamwork. Visit our Customer Service website.
Make 2024 the Year of the Customer. Become another Amazon, Costco, Home Depot, or Mayo Clinic.
Financial Numbers for Nine Service Leaders
I invested $1,000 each in May 2003 in 9 service leaders at that time. This is 20 years ago to see what financial results came from firms that drive a service culture. What I did NOT know is how many would give up and not be relentless. As of December 12, 2023, the $9,000 is now worth $152,280 I also talked about them in my book Relentless. In order of best returns, they are:
- Amazon: $94,387 The most customer-driven company in the world. They are Relentless.
- Costco: $26,290 A role model for a customer-driven company. They are also Relentless.
- Home Depot: $17,900 Top management understands the power of superior service. They are Relentless.
- TD Bank: $5,498 This used to be Commerce Bank. Before being sold to TD Bank in Canada they outperformed Amazon.
- Walmart: $4,057 The largest retailer in the world. When Lee Scott took over they dropped their focus on customer service.
- Southwest Airlines: $2,093 A great airline. Still Relentless. Owning an airline stock is not a good investment.
- General Electric: $1,007 Taken over by greed and executive and board compensation.
- Dell: $648 When Michael Dell retired for the first time they lost their focus on customer service.
- JetBlue Airways: $399 In the Winter snowstorm on February 15, 2007, they had no Service Recovery. They lost their brand and image.