The Extruder (7th August, 2016)

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The Extruder seeks to encourage better business practices by drawing inspiration from 3D printing. Layer by layer material is laid down until something of creative worth has been made. Good business behaviours are very similar and involve building success layer by layer to produce enduring companies.

The Often Forgotten Art of Customer Service (Extruder no.3 Sunday 7th August 2016)

When was the last time you experienced outstanding customer service? Even more important when was the last time you provided outstanding customer service? As both established business people and aspirant business people we must be constantly considering this issue, for it is at the heart of gaining advantage over our competitors. Even if we currently enjoy a position of product superiority we must never become complacent about how we interact with our customers. For they are ever more demanding in their expectations and standards must rise incrementally if we are to keep ahead of the competition.

Online commerce is an area rich with opportunity for those business persons who want to stand out from amongst the crowd. Customers must be found but just as importantly they must also be retained, and inspired to recommend your services to others. Even if a satisfied customer does not need to purchase from you again in the short term what of their requirements going forward? Will they be inclined to think of your business first or will a less than ideal experience cause them to ‘Google their way’ to one of your competitors? Will they even remember you a year or two from now? So let’s ask ourselves. What are we doing as business people to keep our message alive in the minds of those who have come to us for goods and services in the past? Have we gone to a great deal of trouble and expense to find new customers without making adequate efforts to retain those all-important existing ones?

Recently the author had an interesting online experience after deciding to buy some glasses designed to reduce the blue light from computer screens and other similar devices. A Google search revealed various possibilities but it was an Australian site that caught the attention and seemed worthy of detailed investigation. So first things first – something about the way their website attracted attention demand more than just a cursory glance. Could it be, that as previously suggested by The Extruder, the right question had been asked by the business proprietor:

“What problem am I trying to solve?”

The above question is so important, and the impression that gives (certainly to ourselves) is of a business keenly seeking to solve a problem. Now many people will be sceptical about the case for blue light reducing glasses but we had a cursory interest, and that interest grew as we explored the site. In the end a decision was made to purchase and what created a very good impression was the way this company engaged in the follow-up process. After all, when a purchase is made online a huge amount of trust is involved. The customer is frequently dealing with people completely unknown to them, often in a foreign country. So it is how the supplier conducts themselves after the ‘buy button’ has been clicked that speaks volumes.

The author was extremely impressed with the entire process involved in buying a few pairs of computer glasses. From the initial visit to the website, to the follow-up, to the way the goods had been packaged – this was how to do it. So the upshot is that we will almost certainly purchase some more items from this company and we will recommend to others. Business tends to be challenging but we frequently make things harder for ourselves by not studying the science of customer service. It’s most refreshing to have recently encountered these timeless principles. So in our future activities let’s resolve to:

  1. Gain the customer’s interest.
  2. Make it easy and attractive for the customer to order.
  3. Thank the customer for their business.
  4. Package the goods as though we value them as much as the customer.
  5. Ensure if possible that the progress of delivery can be tracked by the customer.
  6. Ask the customer to join our newsletter so we can offer further opportunities to buy.
  7. Ask the customer to recommended our services if they are sufficiently satisfied.

The Extruder is a complimentary service to the readers of The objective is to share business ideas, experiences, and nuggets of wisdom that the Managing Director and his team have accumulated over many years. Whilst these articles are the copyright of ICENI Limited you are welcome to use the Extruder at your own website provided citation is given and a link back to provided.

Warning; 3D printers should never be left unattended. They can pose a firesafety hazard.