Your Purpose-Customer Service and Support
By Todd Murphy | July 19th, 2011
Many books have been written and many speakers have spoken on this topic. I happen to prefer the way the guys behind 37signals lay it out in their book REWORK. Basically, you need to have a purpose behind your business. If you don’t know why you are providing your service or product, and your staff doesn’t believe or understand the purpose, you’ll never reach your true potential.
This doesn’t mean you have to have some lofty, philosophical purpose to save the world. Rather, it can be as simple as, “We just make really comfortable shoes”. With almost every product and service a commodity, being different is not easy. Knowing what or how you should be different, relative to your competition, is a good start.
At Universal Information Services, we know there are only about four companies that compete in the “complete news monitoring and analysis” space, and we’re one of them. Two of the four use a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, where your interaction with those companies is primarily through a portal…you serve yourself, you support yourself. Universal also offers most of our news monitoring through our SmartView and Print Portals, but we know what makes us different is our hyper focus on customer service and support. Yes, that mission can often sound hollow, but when your company has a rhythm that includes a service and support focus, your clients will feel it.
We do lose lose clients when the grass looks greener to them, and sometimes that other vendor is a good fit for them. Still, I’m always enthused at the number of clients that come back to us after a year with another news monitoring company because, “they just didn’t take care of us like Universal did”. For me, that’s the ultimate compliment. Taking care of clients is what every company should be doing, that should be your purpose.
I’d like to think we only gain and never lose a client, but that would be naive for any business to expect. Regaining clients, or rather reclaiming clients because of the service and support of your team, that is the most powerful key differentiator out there. The #samerules of making your customer happy has not changed, you simply have #newtools to serve them with…and serve them better you should.
It’s so easy for marketers to say that their company or their clients are dedicated to customer service, but as you point out, the proof is the key differentiator.
What sets Universal apart is its willingness to deliver the kind of customer service its customers want, one customer relationship at a time. Some might prefer a DIY platform where they can jump in and view data without the extra time required to talk with someone. Others may prefer to have an expert at Universal on speed dial to give advice and to explain results. You provide the level of service each customer prefers, and that’s all the proof anyone should need.
Great blog post, Todd. Such an important reminder, especially when every single interaction between every employee and the “outside world” is a clear reflection of the quality of customer service any company can boast. We could all learn a lot from you guys!
Thanks, Susan. We appreciate your kind words and belief that customer service is so critical. We try hard to engage with every client, providing the service they need, not what we can do as inexpensively as possible. Cheers!