Universal Customer Service Philosophies That Don’t Discriminate

Today at NAWBO’s Midwest Regional Leadership Summit, we got a “two-fer.” The leadership training was superb, and the luncheon keynote speaker Elda Macias, director of market segments at Ameriprise Financial, delivered a simple but powerful customer service message.

She started by asking us whether, in this day and age, there is really a need to market to women differently.

“Haven’t we moved past ‘making it pink’?” she asked.

Although Ameriprise Financial targets women, she pointed out that the company does not have a separate advertising campaign geared specifically to capture the attention of women. Nor does it have a special webpage for that purpose. Rather, the company chooses to honor and celebrate the empowered status of today’s women by focusing on creating a consistent, reliable and repeatable experience for all prospects and customers.

Ameriprise focuses on three simple, yet critical, customer service philosophies that we would all do well to implement in our own businesses:

  1. Focus on building relationships. Do you know your clients as well as you should? Are you delivering services in the way they would like them delivered, or in a manner that’s convenient to you?
  2. Focus on getting to know client’s needs. Macias challenged us to know our customers beyond the service that we’re offering, noting that it can take years to develop this type of understanding. As example, she told the story of how one Ameriprise financial advisor who is a car aficionado helped a client make a car purchasing decision.
  3. Focus on ensuring that you remove roadblocks from the client experience. How easy do you make it for your customers to do business with you?

There’s nothing earth shattering here. Nothing revolutionary. Probably nothing that you don’t already know. But does your company practice these customer service tenets? Are they embedded in your company’s customer service culture?

There are no gimmicks here. These are universal customer service philosophies that transcend gender, ethnicity, age or any other coveted “target” audience. Any customer would relish an experience in which their relationship is valued, their needs are understood, and doing business is easy and convenient.

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About Smart Companies Thinking Bigger®

Kelly Scanlon is the owner and publisher of Thinking Bigger Business Media. She recently finished a term on the national board of directors of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and was the national chair from 2010-2011. An advocate for small business owners, Kelly sits on numerous boards and committees to advocate on behalf of small business owners. She has won several awards for her advocacy. Among them are the 2011 United Nations NGO Positive Peace Award on behalf of Kansas City area small business owners, the U.S. Small Business Administration's Region VII Women's Business Champion of the Year in 2009, and the Women in Business Advocate of the Year from the State of Kansas in 2006. In 2002, she won the SBA's Region VII Small Business Journalist of the Year Award (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas). Whatever your business stage—aspiring, startup, established, mature—Thinking Bigger Business Media has the resources you need to grow to the next level. We are a resource organization dedicated to providing the strategic, "how-to" information small business owners need to become more productive and more profitable. We also provide information that helps owners connect with resources within the business community that can help them grow. We deliver that information through a variety of media products and other channels easily accessible to business owners.
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