Feedback and Rewards

Customer Service – A Proactive Step

Scott Lindsay asked:

A farm equipment company in Canada is blazing a new trail in customer service. REM Enterprises Inc. of Saskatchewan, Canada has developed a “Charter of Values”. This charter essentially lets customers know what they can expect from the company whether they are a customer or not.

The basics of the REM charter is…

* Joy

* Character

* Integrity

* Honour

One of the statements in regards to character reads, “We are committed to corporate and personal integrity every day, through every transaction, in every relationship.”

I don’t know about you, but this statement alone would cause me to be interested in the company – and I’m not a farmer. Any integrity test is challenged when you do not ultimately make a purchase, but when that integrity remains intact trust is often the reward.

This ‘charter’ bears a striking resemblance to the Arena Football League’s “Fan’s Bill of Rights”. This league-wide document delineates some of the following expectations…

* The events will be wholesome in nature.

* The events will feature fair competition.

* The players will give their best effort.

* Fans will have access to players and coaches for autographs.

* Fans should expect all who are associated with the game to be positive role models.

Certainly there is more to the “Fan’s Bill of Rights”, but I wanted to give you a picture of what extremely positive customer service looks like.

The best customer service does not wait until after something negative happens to respond. No, it looks for ways to reassure customers and prospects that business management already has their best in mind. A statement of what the customer can expect from your company can produce a radical and enthusiastic response from your customer base and tentative interest from those who have grown tired of settling for less.

Of course, all the promises in the world mean nothing if you don’t back them up. Don’t promise the world and then deliver a deserted island. Your customers will notice the difference.

If you make big promises make big deliveries.

The “Charter of Values” REM Enterprises developed was a way to bring the issue of positive customer service to their clients and prospects, but this charter of values was also a way to move their staff to a place where they followed along with the team. When everyone stays on the same page, everyone begins to respond in a way that keeps the client’s needs the focal point first – not bottom line profits.

Interestingly profits seem to be a direct result of making customers the main priority in business. This concept is one of the primary reasons the Arena Football League continues to see strong fan support in the cities in which they play.

If you take just one bit of advice from the marketing articles you read make it this one – be proactive in customer service. When your customer knows you are committed to them they develop trust much faster. When customer trust is first the bottom line will reflect this priority shift.

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