Author: Andrew Griffiths
Publisher: Diamond Publishing
Reviewer: Goke Ilesanmi
This week, we are reviewing another book in Andrew Griffiths’ 101 Series. It is said that customers are the most powerful chief executive officers who can fire all the people in an organisation, including the business owner(s). This is because the moment customers stop buying from an organisation, the business will naturally collapse and everybody, including owners will become technically sacked.
It is therefore imperative to examine this text entitled “101 Ways to Really Satisfy Your Customers” written by Andrew Griffiths. Griffiths is a professional marketing consultant, as well as a director of an Australian company called The Marketing Professionals. He is an accomplished trainer and a reputable public speaker who specialises in trouble-shooting for companies that are in dire need of professional advice on marketing and customer-related issues.
According to Griffiths, the modern consumers are more demanding and more informed than ever before. Griffiths says they are aware that they have choices and that there is considerable competition for their business. He educates that costs can only go so low, so there is a limit to reducing prices as a competitive tool. He adds that this leaves one area for modern businesses to outshine their competitors, and that is customer service.
This book has 13 basic sections of 101 tips, with additional 20 bonus tips that constitute a kind of textual appendage. Section one is generically christened “Understanding your customers” and contains eight tips. Griffiths says customers are the one constant that all businesses need.
In his words, “This may sound blatantly obvious and it is, but one of the most common customer service complaints is that businesses don’t listen to their customers… We have to look for ways to make our customers feel comfortable, and to tell us their opinions on what we do well and which aspects of our business we need to improve.”
Section two of this text is conceptually woven together as “Your working environment” and contains eight tips, that is, tips nine to 16. According to him, “There are many ways that you can make your business more appealing to your customers. While many of these may be obvious, there are also many subtle, service-related things that can make your business far more inviting and customer-friendly.”
Griffiths stresses that this section identifies some of the best ways to improve your level of customer service by looking closely at your workplace. This author says you should make it easy for people to visit your business and make the entrance to your business inviting.
Section three is summarily entitled “Your staff” and contains 17 chapters, that is, chapters 17 to 33. Griffiths says, “Staff are the front line when it comes to customer service. As customers we are very forgiving if a member of staff tries hard to meet our expectations, despite problems that are out of their control. For example, an excellent waiter will make a meal at a restaurant enjoyable even if the meal itself is fairly ordinary. The opposite of this is also true – an excellent meal can be ruined by a rude and incompetent waiter.”
This consultant says you should try to create a good first impression and treat your customers with respect, stressing the need for you to communicate confidently with customers and ensure that your staff are knowledgeable about the products they are selling. He advises you to take your staff to your competitors’ businesses, have regular brainstorming sessions, etc.
Sections four to nine are based on the generic subject matters of making it easy for your customers to buy; the personal touch; face-to-face customer service; telephone customer service; promotional material; and customer service and the Internet. These sections contain 44 tips covering tips 34 to 77.
Section ten is summarily entitled Following up on a sale is good customer service and contains four tips, that is, tips 78 to 81. Griffiths says many people think that a sale ends when the customer walks out the door. He stresses that for some smaller-priced items, it does.
In his words, “I wouldn’t expect my local convenience store to make a follow-up call to check if I was satisfied with my purchase of a carton of milk. But for higher-priced items and services, following up after a sale is a surefire way to ensure that your customers are very satisfied with your level of service.”
Griffiths says you should endeavour to discuss the sale on the spot; make a follow-up call; explain what to do if there are any problems; and contact customers that you may have lost.
In sections 11 to 13 covering tips 82 to 101, that is, 20 tips, this author analytically X-rays the generic concepts of internal customer service; maintaining a personal commitment to customer service; and what to do when things go wrong.
Apart from 101 tips, there is a bonus section containing additional 20 tips on customer service.
This book is a success as regards conceptual assessment. On style, the language of the book is simple and the presentation of the ideas very unique, characteristic of Griffiths’ 101 series. By segmenting the 101 strategies into 13 sections, Griffiths has been able to forestall the boredom that may have resulted from the multiplicity of tips offered in this book. To ensure active reader participation and seriousness, Griffiths includes notes and customer service action list segment.
However, some tips seem (conceptually) repetitive in the book. It is better to harmonise them to achieve notional compactness.
On a final note, this text is a must-read for everybody especially that no business can succeed without (enough and loyal) customers.
GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.
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