The Business of People.
What is L.L. Bean known for? Yes, they do sell outdoorsy equipment and clothing but there is something even greater. Their customer service. From grade school up until high school everybody always had those L.L. Bean backpacks with their initials on them. Every year they got a new one, and in a different color too! (These backpacks certainly last longer than one year, but everyone seemed to be getting a new ones so often.)
If you buy a product from L.L. Bean and it rips or breaks somehow they replace it and don’t make a big deal about it. Because of this strategy and their great attitudes, Business Week has awarded L.L. Bean second place in their second annual list of Customer Service Champs Other well known companies with customer service rated in the top ten include Trader Joe’s, Starbucks and JetBlue Airways.
The key thing you always learn when working in…well every type of business is “the customer is always right”. The vast majority of companies may teach this rule but few actually follow it. With out customers or clients, you would not have a company. When a customer has a good experience at a store or with a certain company, he/she is more likely to pass on the recommendation. That good recommendation may only reach a few people but as we have all seen and heard, bad news, gossip and experiences travel much faster and to even more people.
Take the United Airlines example from the summer of 2009. The airline damaged musician Dave Carroll’s guitar during transport and refused to take responsibility. Carroll took to social media to get the word out and created a video on YouTube, that went viral entitled United Breaks Guitars The airline’s lack of response and poor customer service caused more damage and money to combat the issue than a simple smile and apology would have done.
Customer service can make or break a company. We are in the business of people and so, in the end, our job is to please them.