They say a business is only as strong as its closest customer relationships. It’s not just about being nice to your customers, it’s about understanding how strong customer relationships is pivotal to a company’s success. Think back on the last time someone went out of their way for you and how it made you feel afterwards? Grateful, hopefully. Business is no different. Business doesn’t just happen in the development process of a product or service, it happens in the small personal interactions that allow us to show each other who we are and what we believe in.

But somewhere along the way, many businesses got lost. Supposedly smart businesses started looking at customer service as a cost center not an opportunity, and as a result, customer service became an after thought. We’re living in an era where people are jaded about customer service. Service becomes looked at as a place where business can cut costs and increase margins.  Handling customer cases is measured in speed not by the quality of the relationship with your customer. Thinking becomes, “How quickly can I resolve this issue?” rather than “How can I make a customer happy?” It’s no wonder why so many people expect the worst when they think of customer service -- it’s because we looked at customers as a liability rather than as a valuable resource. It’s customers that give you the feedback to improve your product and shape your entire organization--they’re the reason your company exists. It’s time we change the way we handle customer support, and in the coming decades it will change, thanks to the web and social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Today’s customer needs companies to speak to them, and when doing so they must convince them that their brand is a lot more than a mere mission statement, and more than a shining logo; it’s a brand that engages and interacts with them. Most importantly, puts customers at the center of their business. It’s important to think about customer service as a key part of your company. Service should be about connecting every person in your company to the customer. It should be a part of everybody’s job, from management to sales to product development. When you promote Agent-Customer relationships in your support methods and tools, it results in faster resolution time and builds customer loyalty for your brand.

We apply the concept of personalized customer service here at Desk.com. At Desk.com, every component of our company is humanized. We acknowledge that our customers and Agents are real life people. Agents can provide the highest level of support across traditional and social channels -- including Facebook, Twitter, web, chat, email and phone, so no customer case falls through the cracks. We expand customer service to include everybody at your company -- a concept we call "Whole Company Support." It’s an efficient way to connect with people, an opportunity to hear what they want, what they think, how a product or service worked or how it didn’t. Trust is the core of Desk.com. That’s why our team focuses on finding ways to enhance performance and ensure the reliability of the system. We listen to our customers with respect and attention, and respond to issues in a timely fashion. Being human is good for business, and Desk.com gives companies a chance to be personal again.

Every interaction your customers have with your company is an experience, and customers  should be the first responsibility of your business. Businesses have to start working harder to connect with their customers and make them happy, not just because change is coming, it’s because it’s here. If your customer is calling and needs your help, you need to be there to assist them. If you don’t recognize the value of your customer, they’ll leave and tell their friends. But if you do, they’re going to stay and tell their friends that your business is an opportunity. No business is going to fail by engaging with its customers and talking to them in a personal, caring way that makes them feel valued. Connecting to your customers more efficiently and delivering the kind of service they expect will make your company more successful. The better you understand your customers, the easier it is to build something that makes them happy. When you engage with your customers, they will respond, they will connect, and they will trust your company.  Because what matters the most is your willingness to show customers that you care—about them, their experience with you, and about their business.

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Alex Hisaka is the Social Media Marketer at Desk.com. You can find her on Twitter at twitter.com/alexhisaka