I like to post about customer service because I think it is encompassed in every aspect of a business, from marketing to sales to IT. Customer service is internal and external. If your customer service isn't up to par well then your business suffers.
But customer service I think is cyclical pattern. Coming in is customer feedback, good and bad. Going out is not just the services provided but the partnership that is formed when customers and business work together to develop the best possible products and services that not only serve the customers but make the business better.
Jim Hasset speaks to this on his blog post, "How to turn customers into partners." One of the points made here is that this cycle must be continuous because businesses are going global and changing constantly. I hand the mic to Jim:
Clients must grow into partners. Partners expect solutions, trust and value-added service – exactly what David Maister described in his classic book, The Trusted Advisor. Wilson warns that any relationship – whether a marriage, a friendship, or a business partnership – is dynamic and always changing. You’d better plan to keep working at it, so that the change is in the positive direction.
What changes is your business making? How are you working with your clients to turn them into partners? A few key questions Jim Hassett provides come from Larry Wilson’s book Stop Selling, Start Partnering: The New Thinking About Finding and Keeping Customers (p.96):
“What are your [client’s] goals?
How do they make money?
What can you do to help them expand their business?
Who are your [client’s] customers?
How can you help add value to your [client’s] customer?”
Notice most of the questions are about your clients, not about your business. But asking questions like these help you to look internally to help develop solutions which will help grow your business. The cycle continues.