Customer Service Can Make or Break a Business

March 2, 2022

During these tumultuous times, small businesses and their collaborative partners must enjoy a symbiotic relationship to survive and thrive. For locksmith businesses across the country, the link between their shops and their vendors and product distributors is a key bond, particularly as supply-chain issues create disastrous wait times for product delivery.

The investment in customer service that organizations make can ignite what strategists refer to as the “flywheel effect,” which occurs when small wins accumulate over time and keep a business growing. This concept is a driver for business best practices that preach investment and prioritization of customer service to help to acquire customers, show loyalty to existing customers and aid in brand recognition.

That brings me to the point of my comments this month. I make a habit of perusing locksmith-related social-media sites. If you don’t, and many might not because of time or a lack of interest, you’re missing out. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter or industry discussion forums, it’s an effective way to keep up with what fellow locksmiths are saying. Recently, customer service, or the lack thereof, has been a hot topic.

There seem to be issues among locksmiths with a distributor’s alleged inability to provide basic customer service in the form of unexplained delays in response to questions or no response at all.

Take, for example, the problems faced by one locksmith who recently purchased a key machine. When he received the machine days later, he says he noticed that the key clamp on the device was used and damaged. OK, he thought, maybe the manufacturer had sent the distributor the wrong key machine.

The locksmith immediately called customer service for the manufacturer and distributor, not once, but several times, and didn’t receive follow-up explanations from either. Eventually, he was contacted by the manufacturer, which sent a new key clamp. However, almost immediately, he says other problems arose with the machine, such as excessive vibration from a depth mechanism that was sticking.

After taking his complaints to social media, he found that his customer-service woes weren’t isolated. The bottom line: Customer service seemed to be treated as an afterthought.

The experiences of these locksmiths also should serve as a lesson for their own business. A well-trained customer-service team can reflect a positive company image as well as help you to attract and retain customers. A poor staff just as easily can ensure disaster.