What is Customer Care? In this article explore how the singular focus on the customer, delighting your clients is the seed from which massive success springs.
Everyone has heard of customer service. If you've ever went to return something, you're asked to go to the "Customer Service" counter. They are usually called that.
If you've ever been to the customer service counter, you'd realize fairly quickly that it's nothing but making you feel like customer service is happening. That's been my experience anyway.
The service they offer you is service that's part of their normal business operations, so why does it need a dedicated desk to do it? It's just a vanity name to say you are being serviced.
So if normal customer service is just business-as-usual we need a new terms to convey the deep act of customer satisfaction.
Let's call it customer care or customer delight.
Customer care goes beyond just normal act of service. Care is what Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett have mentioned as the key to their success in the businesses they run and the key to business no matter what your business model is.
Mr. Buffett who needs no introduction, has decreed that delighting your customers is the single most important thing for the success and longevity of a business.
Mr. Bezos also considers that to be the single most important thing to do. His intense focus on the customer -- even to go as far as to have an empty chair in meetings and keep that open for the customer in spirit is extreme.
It's easy to say it and understand it in-principle, but it's an entirely different thing to live it. Let's see how Freelancers can take advantage of their unique position of having a direct relationship with clients to do just that.
As Freelancers, Self-employed, consultants we have the ability to step up for our customers. Our clients usually have a direct relationship to us and we see our work immediately affect the lives of our clients.
The kind of care that the customer or our clients need is really our ability to get the job done right, on time and as promised on budget (e.g. a fixed price contract). Especially for Freelancers, the work we do for clients is a direct relationship which is not-typical of 9 to 5 jobs.
That direct relationship is super important to cultivate and maintain especially for freelancers.
If you're selling your commodity product in a highly competitive marketplace, the best type of customer is one where you have diehard fans who would improve your reputation.
It's also the way how Freelancers can better your services that you offer to clients. Warren Buffett calls Customer Care as 'delight'. Here is Mr. Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha on how be successful in any business.
As Mr. Buffett says for successful entrepreneurs and business owners:
“If there’s one thing to remember: Delight your customer."
He continues, “If they [business owners] could write this on their mirror so that they saw it in the morning when they got up every day. They could write it in Sharpie, they could write it in lipstick, they could write it in soap.”
Mr. Buffett knows a thing or two about growing a business. Berkshire Hathaway ownes big and small companies that grew to be huge by being able to serve customers, care about them and delight them.
Mr. Jeff Bezos Founder and CEO of Amazon.com said this about customer delight:
"Customer Delight is all about ‘exceeding customer expectations’".
Exceeding client expectations is how to go one set beyond customer service.
Here's how I'll define the hierarchy of customer focus:
Customer Support is was called in the 80s or 90s. How it's Customer Satisfaction and or Customer Success. That's the bare minimum that we can do. Customer Service is a bit better because it focuses on service, but most people just roll over that now. Think of the customer service desk that you have at your local dept or grocery store. It's just there in name and not really servicing you. How's your experience been?
Customer Delight and customer care is what Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos are talking about. Their focus is on how they can exceed expectations.
In our medical world, we describe the things doctors, nurses and other practitioners as health care workers. Though we don't call customer service, customer care, I think we should. We should care about our customers like we do of patients who go to hospitals.
In most cases, experiences at hospitals you really feel that care. Even though sometimes the process and system itself is very cold, that feeling you get from front-line workers are always one of service. The best front-line workers are hospitals really care. That's what makes the difference between those providing a service and those who really care about their work and care about you.