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  The Importance of Customer Service
Written by Drew Stevens PhD   
The Importance of Customer Service for small businesses


The odds of your business surviving five years are 50-50 according to David Birch, former head of a research firm specializing in studying small business data. (Isen 2007) There are many reasons why a business will fail. Much research is available to denote which factors are the most important, however, it appears that most business fail because they lack focus on the organization’s most vital asset - customers.
 
Solo practitioners begin a business for two reasons; money and passion. Business professionals desire to take their passion and make money from it, and there is little harm in this. There is no better way to enjoy your time on earth than to do the thing that you enjoy.
 
However, with passion there is a need for focus. Presently with the cacophony of noise due to the Internet and social media resources, consumers are overwhelmed with messages. Consumers today require differentiation to denote whom to shop and whom to avoid. Unfortunately the Internet’s ubiquity hinders variety so that only option remaining the builds brand and business success is customer service.
 
Customer service is simply the organizational culture and processes that entrepreneurs create to ensure allure. Consumer decisions are driven by emotion. Service must be enculturated into the organizations so all staff become dependent on the client. This is an important construct; there is little difference from one retailer to the next or one restaurant to the next with one exception- customer service. When treated correctly, customers inform others of their experience helping to manifest the organizations brand and announce it to others. No marketing tactic in the IMC process is as cost effective as a word of mouth.
 
When customers believe and trust their vendor they tell others helping to create brand differentiation. Exemplars include Apple whose retail outlets are the busiest of any mall and Zappos.com whose unblemished customer service helps helped to brand to proliferate.
 
If there is little belief in customer service think again. According to both Dun and Bradstreet and the Small Business Administration, businesses with fewer than 20 employees have only a 37% chance of surviving four years. Customer service can provide the life raft of success if used correctly. In reviewing the success statistics, would you rather be a follower or a leader?
 
 
©2010. Drew Stevens PhD. All Rights Reserved.