'Time is Money': Advice and Tips on Giving Award-Winning Customer Service

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Advice and tips from award-winning workwear company, Krowmark Ltd, about how to shift your business focus onto customer service in order to benefit you and your customers in the long run.

Customer service is a contentious issue which usually revolves around time; this can relate to delivery windows, waiting on hold, expecting emails or just deciding what to order in the first place. It goes without saying that time is a commodity which should be spent wisely because it cannot be reclaimed. With only a finite number of hours and minutes in a day, it must be ensured they are utilised carefully so that various issues and targets are dealt with and attained efficiently, while also being conducive to making the following day just as good - if not better.

In terms of business, this essentially boils down to: time is money. Although, this does not always have to mean that expending time is a waste of money - Krowmark Ltd advocate the idea that time spent in the right places is an investment in the efficiency of future days and thus the finances of tomorrow.

Cracks start to show when a customer begins to realise that customer service is in fact more concerned with money, and most ardently about making corporate savings instead of theirs.

This is, of course, not what they want to hear. This customer has chosen a company to provide a paid service – that is, to use time and resources in exchange for their money. If the company is doing so in a manner that takes too long or, on the other hand, is rushed to a poor completion and needs redoing, they are essentially expending the customer's time which cannot be recovered. A refund is a refund, but Krowmark Ltd know that time is something that cannot be wasted.

If time is money, customers should not have to waste theirs trying to get through impenetrable phone lines or arguing their case when something goes awry; the money that they may ‘think’ they’re saving by using a cheap supplier is often wasted when they find themselves sat on hold over the phone trying to battle through poor service and returning unfit goods. Losing their head over unnecessary stresses caused by lack of communication and careless workmanship is a waste of time and thus, money.

This wastage of time and money applies to both the customer and to business; the customer should not have to waste time making returns and going elsewhere, while equally sales teams should not have to apply time and energy in justifying the reasons why something did or did not happen to irritated customers due to a lack of policy on service. If the sales team were able to give a quick response and solution to the issue at hand, they can then better utilise their time to focus on service and providing a smooth experience to all customers, which is a saving for the company on the time/money scale.

Customers will be grateful to find that spending a few extra pennies affords them the luxury of someone who immediately takes responsibility for any issues while also providing solutions without excuses, instead of trying to pass the blame onto the consumer. You are saving the customer time, therefore saving them money in the long run. What seems like added extras from other companies should be a standard – for example, the customer's money could be better invested in a company with guaranteed delivery service, free samples and free amendments to their order - a company like yours.

Anyone can be the cheapest if they lower their prices enough, but striving for cost-effective sales reasoning is an unsustainable business model; it pertains to slow growth and undercutting elsewhere in the company, for example treatment of staff or quality of the products. If it is not found in these areas, it is likely that the company will be running at a loss - which is of course not a situation that endures; the company will either end up being run into the ground by continuing in the vein of a price-focused outlook, or the losses will have to be made up by returning the prices to their original - if not higher - brackets. It is not easy to recover from long term financial losses by amending the price structure so drastically, since cost-centric customers will be inclined to betray their loyalty to the previous company in favour of a comparatively cheaper one.

It needs to be decided what kind of customers are desired – does the company want to attract customers who only focus on price and may ultimately end up being fickle when it comes to choosing between them and a competitor? Or would they prefer to attract customers who come to them via good reviews and want a reputably hassle-free order process, those who prioritise their experience over their wallet while acknowledging surprising offers and giveaways as a happy bonus on top of excellent customer service?

Providing offers and services that are affordable to the company amongst a steady pricing structure is something that the customers, and sales staff, can rely on; the company can then project future financial forecasts and adjust to unforeseen circumstances. Setting a base of loyal customers who come back year after year gives something to rely on financially when new customers are not biting on new clearance prices.

Customer service is so much more than a good tone of voice and a smile; it permeates every aspect of your business and should be at the forefront of everything the company does. This is how Krowmark Ltd won its own award for customer service and business of the year.

So take it from the guys at Krowmark Ltd, providing a service that the company would expect to receive itself is much more successful in the long-run than trying to wring every penny from weary prospective customers. Invest time into customers today and reap the rewards for the lifetime of the business.

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Hollie Rowland
@Krowmark
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