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Wednesday, 20 July 2016 15:49

The Customer Is Still Always Right

Written by   Mary Ann Lovre, president of Audrey Morris Cosmetics International

In an increasingly automated and impersonal world, there seems to be more of an emphasis on what technology can do and less focus on what personal contact can accomplish. While text message and e-mail reminders, online appointment bookings, and automated phone systems are helpful and have enhanced society, they all lack one essential component: the human touch. The relationships created and maintained with clients have always been, and should always be, a priority for all in the service industry. Multiple surveys all point to the same conclusion that customer service matters to people. No matter whom is asked, the fact remains that great customer service is driven by people.

In 2015, the Belding Group, a leading customer service training and workplace performance company, found that 92.4 percent of consumer conversations regarding customer service experience are about people.1 The same study also reports that 86 percent of positive word-of-mouth feedback about customer experience is about someone taking ownership of a situation and that in 82 percent of negative customer service stories, the employee is perceived as uncaring. The Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report indicated that 97 percent of global consumers say that customer service is very important or somewhat important in their choice of loyalty to a brand.2

Recent data from Zendesk, a leading Denmark-based customer service software company, shows that 79 percent of high-income people, 54 percent of Generation X, and 51 percent of business-to-business clients will avoid a company for two or more years following one bad customer experience.3 According to Forrester, a publically-traded company known as one of the most influential research and advisory firms in the world, 73 percent of consumers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service.4

Simply put, this data means that the customer is still always right. Clients want, and almost need, their one-on-one, personal contact. People want their brand loyalty and time respected by knowledgeable, engaging, and friendly service personnel. Not only will they stay away from a business should their outcome be perceived as unsatisfactory, but, thanks to social media, all of their friends and followers will hear about it also.

The solution as a business owner starts with the hiring process. Choose the candidates that will best represent the spa's mission and do so with a smile. Be sure they are properly trained, as well as periodically retrained. Furthermore, survey clients regularly; it is often surprising what can be learned from them and how they view the spa if they are just listened to. Providing them with a way to communicate their concerns or offer their input makes them feel validated and engaged. By placing a suggestion box in the reception area, professionals demonstrate that they care about what clients think.

Skin care professionals can also use social media as a way for the spa to communicate with clients. Respond to negative comments immediately with something positive, such as, "We're sorry you've had this experience. We're looking into the matter and would be happy to discuss it with you personally. Please direct message us your phone number." Do not turn it into a public battle. De-escalate the situation and offer to make it right.

Remember, the customer is always right.

1 Belding, S. (2015, December 21). Customer Service Statistics to Guide You For 2016.
2 Parature. (n.d.). 2015 Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Complimentary Report.
3 Zendesk. (n.d.). The Impact of Customer Service: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
4 Leggett, K. (2016, January 6). Forrester's Top Trends For Customer Service In 2016.

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