I've had several different businesses and found a direct correlation between customer service and profits. Being "nice" and just trying to serve customers WILL make you more money in the long run, even if it doesn't seem like it all the time.
---Learn How to Be Your Own Boss http://www.entrepreneur-stories.com
You're absolutely right. Customer service is what separates good companies from bad ones, at least in the eyes of customers.
A few years back, I owned a lead generation company. That industry is notorious for bad customer service, so we decided to be different and offer excellent customer service. As a result, we had some of the best, most loyal customers in the business and the only thing we did to make them unhappy was telling them we sold the company.
With that said, some customers make it really difficult to be nice. They have many reasons for being unhappy, none of which may have anything to do with your business. Sometimes their business may be doing poorly and they're looking for someone to blame. Or they may have had a fight with someone else before calling you. Or they're just a sour person. I've experienced all of these and more.
We trained our customer service reps to be as patient as possible and not take anything personally. If they felt like they were getting frustrated, they had permission to say, "Let me put you on hold for a minute and check on something really fast. I'll be right back." Then they were instructed to vent to me or a co-worker or go out in the hall and scream. When they came back, they were able to be nice even when the customer wasn't. It's important to take a step back and realize it's not personal, it's business.
Of course, we did have to fire a few customers because they were so difficult, and as you might expect, they were the ones who didn't pay their invoices on time....
---JP Stonestreet Author of Web To Rich Don't make a living...make a million!
---Real Dropshipping Wholesale Business Builders