Customer service is an integral part of any business. No company – regardless of its product or service – can flourish without service that puts the customer first. While customer service is vital, there are three industries that might surprise many in terms of valuing customer service.
When buying a home, those in the market will work with a real estate agent to help them find the best location with the best amenities for the price they want to pay. The work of an agent is crucial, especially in highly competitive areas where it’s a buyer’s market. Getting the home you want for the amount you want to pay depends on timing, availability of information and relationships. No buyer wants to come across their dream home, only to find that it’s already under contract. Excellent service in home sales should be focused on building a trustworthy relationship with clients and understanding exactly what’s important to them in order to have that translate into a home they will truly love. In addition, the home buyer must rely on the agent’s network, understanding of the market and ability to move quickly once an ideal home is found. Once a home has been found, the closing complete and the buyer is satisfied, that experience will be passed on to family and friends – further building the agent’s network. References and a good reputation are vital to the well-being of real estate agents and it’s how they often make most of their money. Furthermore, the company the agent works for can leverage the agent’s expertise to expand its market. But, at the end of the day, it all boils down to customer service. Many real estate companies engage third-party providers to help determine how well their agents are doing when it comes to serving home buyers and sellers. Measuring the effectiveness of a real estate company and delivering quantifiable data to assess the service direction is a worthwhile endeavor that can pay dividends in the end.
Buying a car is often the second most significant purchase a person will make. Not only is excellent customer service important when making the purchase, but ensuring customers are treated extremely well after the sale is just as critical. Automobiles require care and maintenance, resulting in visits to the dealership for regular maintenance, recalls or for any other issues that may come up. It’s often difficult for buyers to make time to address issues with their car, so anything the dealership can do to make their visit enjoyable will go a long way in addressing anxiety as well as ensuring the satisfied customer will tell others of their wonderful experience. In the same way, a bad experience at the dealership – even if the actual automobile runs like a dream – can permanently damage any good will the customer felt after the purchase and can destroy the long-term value of the brand. Utilizing a third-party provider to measure how effective sales, service and maintenance staff are is an investment every dealership should consider – especially if the measurement includes using real customers.
Almost everyone has had some experience with valet parking, whether at a shopping center, restaurant or exclusive event. The joyride by valet attendants featured in the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off often comes to mind when a car is returned by a disgruntled attendant. This is not the thought any valet service wants to convey. While the interaction with a valet attendant may be very quick and often viewed as an afterthought, it’s undeniable that a good customer experience is vital when delivering this service. Being able to anticipate customer needs and going above and beyond what’s expected is the best way to stand out when valet service needs to differentiate. Are water bottles being offered to guests when they hand in their ticket? Are passengers being helped into their cars? Is service always delivered with enthusiasm and a smile? These questions are important to ask, as it can be easy to overlook the very simple components of customer service. It’s true that customers may not remember all of the good experiences, but they will never forget the bad ones. And, those bad stories get shared over and over. Properly measuring customer engagement, even for quick interactions such as valet parking, could be the missing ingredient establishments need to provide end-to-end five-star service.
A company’s greatest brand ambassador is typically the staff member that is equipped to provide great customer service. For those industries that are often overlooked, providing the tools necessary to ensure every employee interacting with clients or prospects properly conveys the brand values will result in increased revenue. Happy customers will tell friends about the exceptional service they received and that’s worth much more than any advertisement.