How Do You Define Great Customer Service?

In Ruby Newell Legner's "Understanding Customers," she finds, "It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience." Are you awake yet? bear

It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.

According to research, customer service seems to be the strongest factor affecting the star-rating of Yelp reviews. A customer who praises service is more than five times more likely to give that business a 5-star review than a 1-star review. Nearly 70% of "bad" customer service experiences are given a one-star rating. Your reputation (online and off) directly correlates to sales. In a Harvard Business School study, a one-star increase in Yelp ratings leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue in independent restaurants.

Not only are good customer service experiences leading to higher revenue, but Bain & Company found "a customer is four times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service-related rather than price- or product-related."

A customer is four times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service-related rather than price- or product-related.

We know just how important customer service is to a business. It can mean the difference between keeping the doors open or closed. How can you approach customer service to create a band of loyal customers?

1.  Relationships: Think about the last time you liked being sold to—trick question, because we're fairly sure that's never happened. We imagine you probably started your business to help people do something, so put that mission first and your customers will sense that you really care. Make the relationship the priority over the sale and people will love you for it.

2. Consistency: Quite simply, be there. Keep regular hours, respond to questions on social media, do what you say you will do, be the face of your business and hire the best, most reliable people you can to represent you day-to-day. True customer loyalty takes time, and you might have many interactions with someone before they decide to never shop anywhere else.

3. Reciprocity: Help Scout discusses reciprocity as the one defining and driving force that creates loyal customers. It solidifies a positive social relationship just like it would when you always drive your friend to the airport and she always picks you up when your car is stalled. In other words, treat your customers like you would your friends and they will be your best friends.

How do you define great customer service for your business?