9. Exceptional Customer Service

Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

What is a Customer?

Customers can be demanding, irritating and, at times, a total nuisance. Customers are also the lifeblood of every business. Think about the fact that if your potential customers are not interested in buying whatever it is you’re going to sell, there would be no need at all for the business. So, you might ask “what exactly is a customer?” A customer is a person who brings you his or her needs and you must satisfy them. A customer expects you to provide value in exchange for their hand-earned dollars and will seek another business if you cannot meet their expectations.

Why Provide Great Customer Service?

High interest rates, inflation, recessions, and unemployment have changed customer attitudes a great deal throughout history. One way to keep consumers loyal to your business is to provide exceptional customer service. Putting customer service first can result in repeat business and can also lead to positive word-of-mouth referrals. In combination, they can create a strong brand image which is one of the most valuable assets a business can have. The following are a few facts about the importance of customer satisfaction:

    • Customers are more likely to stop doing business with your company because of poor service than for any other reason.
    • Your customers may be willing to pay as much as a 10 percent premium for exceptional customer service.
    • Customers who are highly satisfied with the excellent service you provide are your company’s best source of marketing, even better than paid advertisements.
    • Your customers’ perceptions of your business are shaped more by the quality of your service than by the quality or cost of your products.

What about Customer Complaints?

What should be done when a customer complains about your service or product? The answer is simply to make every effort possible to solve the problem. Consider this, a customer orders a meal only to discover the food is bland and the service unfriendly and slow. If that customer complains, you can guarantee that he or she will relate his/her poor experience to friends, family, relatives, and co-workers —possibly present and potential customers. On the other hand, unhappy customers who have their problems resolved in a professional and satisfactory manner become loyal repeat customers and ambassadors of goodwill for a company. Customer complaints should not be viewed as a problem but rather as an opportunity to discover better methods to provide customer service.


Providing superior customer service is crucial to the success of any business, particularly today. Customers have many options on where and how they spend their time and money. Remember, as a new business owner you have a choice—you can give good customer service or not. Likewise, your potential customers have a choice—they can choose your company or not.

Successful companies are marketing oriented. That is, all strategies and plans of the company are centered on present and potential customers. As a potential new business owner, you will have one step up on many competitors if you consistently deliver exceptional customer service.

Ready to learn more?

Check out our New Business Checklist to find more helpful resources and considerations for starting a successful business.