You see it happening all the time: A full-page ad is placed in a popular monthly magazine. The ad flaunts the exceptional service of their product. Catchy rhymes. Promise after promise. Big bucks spent on creating an image that lasts in the mind of the consumer. And it can be forgotten in a second if promises are broken. It will cancel out all the effort your image was implying.

Maybe this has happened to you in the past. You have been standing in line at a local grocery store staring at a sign that says "Our Customers Come First" while the person in front of you is being yelled at by the cashier for not bringing the proper identification to purchase alcoholic beverages. Or, maybe you've had the experience with a teller who rolls her eyes when you ask too many questions about the bank. The main point is this: we all talk about experienced image - not the marketed ad. Add this with the "talk" on the Internet and you've topped thousands of minds.

Why should you care what people are saying?
  • It costs up to eight times more to bring in new customers than to keep existing ones.
  • There is at least a 10% chance of greater profits with your current customers.
  • Businesses that keep their customers enjoyed a strong development.
  • When a customer leaves, they tell all their friends, and with email they may potentially tell thousands. It does not take much to make a lasting impression.
Here are some of the obvious complaints customers have:
  • Unprofessional employees
  • Uninterested employees
  • Sarcasm
  • Lack of initiative
  • Ignoring customers
  • Inability to solve problems
Your staff might have had some training in the past, but why are they seeing customers leave? It's because they did not take the time to see what affects the customers. Here are some tips to move your customer service from the bottom to the top.

The most important factor that increases customer satisfaction is to treat your employees well. One unhappy employee can ruin the day of at least a dozen customers. Discover what is wrong and do something about it.

Keep your staff updated so they feel valued. Thanks to the invention of the Internet, your staff can get the company news before you do. Never let this happen to your business. Have meetings with your employees to keep them updated with current events.

Train employees to see themselves as business owners instead of workers. Allow them to make customer service decisions without having to call for a manager.

Have your employees change their thought process. Make them see every customer as a million dollar client and treat them accordingly.
Bring in new ideas and reward forward thinking. Pursue and act on advice from the battle lines because most the time they are the only lifeline a customer has with your business.

Recognize and prize one another. See everything from all directions. A manager needs direction from an employee as much as an employee needs direction from a manager. Inspire employee recognition for helping one another handle customer service issues.

Seek innovation. Talk to everyone to survey the competition and discover what they do that makes them unique. The people on the frontlines will see what upper management will not.

Ask for customer feedback. Do not waste your time with customer surveys. Assign staff to search the Internet for both good and bad reviews about your company.

Make your existing customers feel special. Provide price cuts or discounts, make every transaction with them enlightening, talk openly and have a real people answer your phones.

Reward referrals from customers. One local car dealer offers $100 to any person who refers someone else. He receives several referrals every week and survives during economic hardship.

Do not just talk about improving customer service. Happy customers are the nuts and bolts of any business, especially during downtimes. Begin by treating your employees with respect, keep them updated, and do what it takes to make sure you send each customer away with happy thoughts.