Does Customer Service Still Matter?

When I graduated from college (no need to get into specifics here; let’s just say it was a while ago), I went immediately to work for a small investment management company.

Each of the 12 people who worked for the company when I joined could probably write a book about the funny (in hindsight) antics that took place there. The president of the company was, to put it gently, a bit eccentric and completely unpredicatable.

But the company was very successful, weathering the storms of the financial markets. I credit that in large part to their incredible dedication to client service.

This was a company where you could be fired – literally – for failing to return a client’s phone call the day it was received. Where reports went out on the specified day come hell or high water. (And trust me when I say there was a lot of hell.) Where a minor internal error prompted a company-wide memo explaining what had happened, identifying the person who’d made the mistake (by name), and promising that it would never happen again.

When tough times hit the company’s investment style, they lost some clients, but not as many as they probably should have. Even those who left universally applauded the firm’s client service efforts.

What does this mean for you? Does customer service still matter?

I say that client service should matter more than anything for your business. (OK, maybe not more than delivering actual quality goods or services; great customer service can’t make up for lousy products.) And while everyone says they have it, exceptional customer service really can set you apart from your competition.

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