This is the major factor in growing our businesses - building relationships - "customer intimacy". In today's changing business world, we must remember that it's not just about selling products, it's about selling solutions. The key focus must be on the establishment of relationships and the retention of customers for LIFE. Remember it costs five times as much to gain a new customer as it costs to keep an existing one. You must consider the customer's lifetime value, not just the profit or loss on a few transactions. It is imperative to make sure each customer gets exactly what he or she wants.
Can you say that you are providing your customer more value than your competitor when they came in to pick up their job and it was still sitting in bindery waiting to be boxed? Or did you promise them ultimate quality, but the black ink was a little on the gray side and the letter fold was off ever-so-slightly? The customer took the job, but was he or she totally satisfied? How many more times do you think they will keep coming to your store before another printing store contacts them and they switch? Or, maybe the customer just keeps giving you their little jobs and takes the big ones down the street?
The real point here is: What kind of experiences are your customers having at your center and what effect is this having in the profits you are or are not making? More importantly, why are your customers having bad experiences and what internal factors need to be analyzed and corrected in order to give your customers the service they are demanding these days?
Customer service ultimately reverts back to key principles in your organization that are either working efficiently or not. If a job is not delivered according to schedule, then systems in production are definitely not in place or not being followed by your people. If the quality was lacking, then your products are not making your customer say, "I love it".
If a customer was promised one thing and given another, then your organization becomes known as not living up to its promises. If the counter person doesn't acknowledge customers as soon as they walk in the door, the unfriendly attitude definitely affects the customer. This list can go on and on, but the point is that everything that happens internally within your organization affects your customer service. You as the owner are the only one who can find out what your customers truly want. It is then up to you to make sure that the customer is getting all the value possible from each and every transaction.
You, the owner, are the only one that can go back to your original business plan and assess each and every aspect of your business. You need to check to see if you are on the track that you laid out in that plan. Are the profit centers performing the way you planned for them? If not, what do you need to do so that they are profitable and serving your customers needs?
We all know that "Customer Service" is our watchword. As the owner you need to get yourself up to speed in order to satisfy each and every customer and to establish relationships with them along the way. The entire cycle revolves around people - you, your employees and your customers. You must deal head on with your customers and your employees if you plan to remain in business profitably in the coming years.