A recent article from retail packaging powerhouse and fellow Twitterer Nashville Wraps (@NashvilleWraps on Twitter) brought home the real value of good customer service. Their article "Relaxed Customers Spend More Money" includes a list of the categories that matter to customers.
Since our business is not a retail operation, but B2B, some of the items mentioned, like background music and scented candles (although we sometimes enjoy these in our office), will not carry weight with our customers. Being mindful of the niceties that are important in B2B relationships is equally important. We recently received a glowing report from one of our clients and are thrilled to note that the extra value we bring by being responsive and sensitive to their needs is actually noticed and quantified by this customer.
The categories our client measures and reports include the quality of materials, timeliness of deliveries, condition of materials upon arrival, completion of backorders, whether transporters and drivers follow instructions, and so on. The rating system includes five categories with sub-categories in each, and goes from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent). For the sake of this discussion, and due to the fact that we are a business where employees multi-task, the customer service type of categories we value most include responding to emergencies (as in "we need the materials yesterday" or "the truck has not yet arrived"), responding to requests for quotes and status updates of product shipments, consultation on factory processes, providing updates on new material availability, as well as invoicing and other paperwork.
In essence, good customer service, like any relationship, is about open communication. Showing respect, responding promptly, addressing concerns, apologizing for any mistake and presenting a plan for corrective action: this type of good customer service behavior can and should be taught. It's the right thing to do, and everyone can feel good about it.
Many consumer studies have shown it's much less costly to keep a customer than to obtain a new one. Please share with us what works for you to keep customer relationships healthy.
Thanks to Buffie Barril, Internet Marketing Director for Nashville Wraps, for inspiring this post.
To view case studies from a couple of our satisfied customers, click here: Liberty Packaging Case Studies
Intercept Technology Packaging products fit within a sustainability strategy because they are reusable, recyclable, do not contain or use volatile components (No VOCs, Not a VCI) and leave a smaller carbon footprint than most traditional protective packaging products.