Every company will say that they put the customer first – no business goes about stating the opposite. But in practice, things can often feel quite different; sometimes, it feels like companies are only paying lip service to the idea of good customer relations. Here are some definite signs that a business truly values its customers.
Employees are empowered and retained
Have you ever made a call to customer service, heard the standard opening spiel – which includes some variation of “I can help you with that” – only to be told, minutes later, that the representative isn’t allowed to take action, or even explain why? Sure, company policies exist for a reason, and lines must be drawn somewhere; some consumer requests can be unreasonable or out of scope. But empowered employees will still make an effort to find alternative solutions and explain the scenario to their customers without crossing the line. It’s all about how you make the customer feel; if a business values that, they empower their people. Otherwise, they’ll give you an earful of scripted language.
In the same way, companies that care about their customers understand that retaining their employees will give them a staff full of individuals with expert knowledge, immersion in company culture, and other intangibles that only come with time spent on the job. You wouldn’t hesitate to check in a loved one at an alcohol rehab clinic whose staff have remained the same for years, but at businesses where faces come and go, you can probably expect mercenary attitudes from the personnel.
Investment in tools and training
Another way you can tell if a company values its customers is through its investment in consumer-facing solutions. The modern concept of online customer service, for instance, has changed significantly over the years. If a business has invested in making the customer experience a pleasant one, you can see the signs that it has evolved with the times. Some websites instantly open up a small chat window where customers can pose queries to be answered by a chatbot; investing in automation helps customers get simple questions answered in seconds, skipping the queue (and possibly limited operating hours of human chat representatives).
While you may not have visibility over internal processes, technology, and employee training, you can spot the signs of investment in these areas. For example, if you check on the status of an order that’s been delayed or lost, a retailer with integrated customer relations management (CRM) platforms can efficiently look up the status and provide not only the basic tracking details (which any customer with the tracking number can provide) but get more information from the logistics partner and warehouse, including images of the package for proof of delivery.
Maintaining a proper relationship
‘Customer relationship’ has become such a catchphrase that many businesses don’t really pause and think about what constitutes a good human connection, and whether or not they have created that sort of relationship with their customers. A company that keeps its customers informed in a timely and thoughtful manner, with emails that have been curated to be relevant (not to mention written by actual human beings) has invested the time and effort to try and personalize their connection with you. Responding to negative feedback in a constructive and appreciative manner, then taking actions to improve is another sign that the business values their customers.
Learn to spot these key signs in a company, and you’ll have better confidence that you can entrust your business to them.