Service commitment Featured

8:09am EDT February 27, 2003
"The customer is always right."

Have you ever stopped to think about what this means? The customer is the lifeline of a business. Besides employees, customers are the greatest asset a company can have, and they must be treated accordingly.

For many companies, this has been a difficult time. People are waiting it out and treading cautiously through this first quarter, keeping purchases to a minimum. However, some companies have prepared for a time like this and are in a position to stay on the offensive and press forward.

Those companies took careful measure of their return on each investment, assembled the best management team and are quick to adapt to new circumstances. They instill confidence in their customers.

For customers to continue to make investments, they have to be reassured yours is one of those companies.

Here are four principles customers look for before making an investment with you.

1. Innovation. Are you leading or following? Find new ways to set yourself apart from the competition.

2. Value. Give customers more for their money. When people receive more than they expect -- in goods or services -- they place more perceived value on that transaction, which leads to higher customer satisfaction.

3. Sound leadership. Good leaders make good decisions. Evaluate whether you have the right leadership to keep your company on top.

4. Customer service. Service doesn't end after the transaction is done. If you want to keep customers happy, stay in contact after the purchase. Stay up-to-date on their needs and find out what they like and dislike about your product or service, which will help you fine-tune it for the next customer.

Even when you think customers are wrong, if you listen carefully, they're probably telling you something about your business that needs correcting.

In the current economic climate, you can't afford to ignore them. If you and your staff remember the customer is always right, you'll never go wrong.