4 types of unfortunate customer service trends
The whole notion of customer service, and I mean proper old fashion customer service seems to be disappearing quickly. Gone are the days when you are blown away by someone’s effort to go way above and beyond to give you an experience.
Most people don’t say anything anymore when they are treated badly as they think that there is no outcome if they do.
Sadly this has led us to now accept bad service as the new norm.
Well I for one am a bit over the mediocrity and I think it’s time for a change back to proper service.
There are four customer service styles that seem to be rampant today out in the marketplace which I want to highlight and hopefully eradicate.
Your business grows when your customers get treated right. This isn’t rocket science, it’s a fact that unfortunately a lot of business owners and their staff are not getting.
1. The Ninja Service
The ninja service is probably one of the most common types of service we all experience. Like a ninja, ninja service is when you don’t even realise that service has even been there or a part of your experience when dealing with someone.
Every few days I stop at the same service station to fill my car up with fuel on my way to taking my daughter to school. I am yet to have had one word said to me by the person behind the counter. Not a “hello”, not a “how is your day”, not a “that will be $63 please”, not even a “thank you”. NOTHING!
I would have been there at least twice every week now for over 2 years and been served by the same guy so one would assume that he would remember me but still I get nothing. So he is a customer service ninja. He does everything by stealth. Problem is, as a customer I am not only after what I purchase, I am also after an experience. A good one not a bad one!
2. The Skeleton Service
The skeleton service is very easy to spot. That is when you just experience the bare bones of service. You know, where it’s evident but just. This is happening all the time and it is my belief it is due to either lack of training or staff are being trained in basics of service by people who don’t really understand what consumers really want and like.
Recently I went to my local food supermarket. Now this place is huge. There are 15 check outs. The problem is they never have any open. This particular day I was there picking up something for dinner there was just one register open with a lady working her butt off to get through the monstrous line of shoppers lining up. Down the other end was the “self-serve” checkouts which most supermarkets are trying to get us all to use. This is where I had a problem. There are 10 “self-serve” registers there but they had 3 staff telling the customers which register they should use. Now as I have been on this planet for a fair while now, I’m pretty sure I can see what register was available to use. Not only where there 3 staff members there, in all their wisdom they closed 5 of the “self-serve” registers so that line up was huge as well. When I questioned one of the staff members as to why they were shut she said “that’s so we don’t get too many people through here at one time”. HUH? Well if they didn’t want too many people there, wouldn’t it be smarter to take 2 of those 3 staff and open up a proper register for them to SERVE the customers?
Skeleton service is a croc and should be stamped out of all businesses.
3. The Fool’s Gold Service
Back in the gold rush, fool’s gold was everywhere. Whilst it looked like real gold, not until it was tested could it be proven if it was real of fake.
This is how a lot of us have a customer service experience these days. Whilst everything maybe going well in our dealings with someone, not until there is an issue or something tricky pops its head up do we see what the person is really like in the service realm.
This normally happens when dealing with a “service department” over the phone. They have been trained to do things a certain way, which in a perfect world would be awesome, but the reality is all customers are different. Then when a customer wants a better outcome or feels like the level of service needs to be better the true nature of the level of service is seen in all of its ugly colours.
Service isn’t just for those customer who are perfect. It is also there for those who can be a right royal pain. True good service is what will win them over and calm them down, not fake fool’s gold service.
4. The One Size Fits All Service
The one size fits all service experience happens to most of us every day. You know when you go somewhere and you are met by an employee who just spits out the same old same old rhetoric? “Hi, how’s you day going”, “the weather is nice today isn’t it”, “oh I like that colour on you” blah, blah, blah…
As stated before, customers are after experiences, engagement and to be really appreciated. The fact is, the customer today one thing more than ever before… CHOICE! Unless we genuinely look after our customers and treat them well and service them to the hilt, they will find someone else that does.
This is why staff training, and I mean proper face to face training and none of this online training garbage, comes into play. Businesses who recognise that staff need to be constantly update in the skill of service are the ones who are kicking big goals. Every time I spend time with staff in a business that has engaged my services to train their staff, the sales results the following week increase due to the staff paying more attention to their customers.
So there you have it. Those are my 4 customer service styles that need to go. I am sure you could think of some more but if we all concentrate on treating our customers how we ourselves like to be treated when we are spending our own $$ then I am sure things would change for the better
Some people are saying that customer service is the pits these days with surly sales people leading the way. Just in case you haven’t conceived of every method to further alienate your clientele, we have come up with a list of ideas that are certain to drive customers away from your business. With tongue firmly planted in cheek, we offer the following tips to you:
Customer Service in General:
1. A closed mouth gathers no foot…speak boldly!
2. When the only customer service tools you have to work with is an axe, you will have hours filled with fun.
3. Try to come to an amicable conclusion…the place where you and the customer both got tired of arguing.
4. An irate customer is its own reward. Make someone’s day.
5. Freely and frequently tell customers that you HATE your job.
6. Only provide one-word answers when customers ask questions.
7. If you’re having a bad day, the quickest way to feel better is to take out your frustration on a customer.
8. Your day is not complete until you’ve sent yet another customer running away.
9. Pass the buck to another coworker; you’re not in the mood to deal with this customer right now.
10. Creating some inaccuracy can save a world of explanation, ahem.
11. Best customer service award goes to: the one with the subtle blend of psychology and extreme violent behavior.
12. Make sure you try to upsell another product to the customer, no matter how much they argue they don’t need it. You never know, they may not realize they could use something they didn’t want until it was forced on them, and your commissions will go up!
13. If the shoe fits, beat the customer senseless with it.
14. Nope, nope, we can’t alter that service for you, that’s the way we do things here. Yes, I know we could probably DO it, but that’s our policy, no alterations of any kind to the services for customers.
15. Act as distant and indifferent as possible to the customer; they’ll eventually go away, I promise.
16. Ready?! Aim……FIRE!
17. Make it your policy to take pictures of customers that lodge a complaint. Then post them on the front door and use them as target practice for your dartboard gaming. That will surely slow down the complaints you receive.
18. When a customer asks where your blue widgets are, do NOT make eye contact, and simply mumble something under your breath. If they persist, just quickly point in its direction, but don’t make the mistake of raising your head and looking their way or you’re doomed; you’ll be stuck with having to actually SHOW them where they are.
19. If you can’t beat the customers, arrange to have them beaten.
20. Everything is an interruption. Someone comes into your store, it’s an interruption. When the phone rings, it’s an interruption. If a customer is in front of your face, it’s an interruption. Heavy sigh. Everything these days is a bloody interruption!
21. If you’re the acting manager, it’s easy to duck out the back door if there’s an irate customer making a complaint. They can’t make a complaint to the manager if the manager isn’t there, right?
22. When a customer is lodging a complaint, argue the matter in hand from YOUR standpoint, not theirs. Stand your ground!
23. It’s not losing the argument that matters…it’s how many you take down with you that counts.
24. Give the customer a very vague time frame of when they can receive delivery of the widget they ordered or when you’ll arrive for their service call from somewhere between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Now for the fun part…don’t show up, and don’t call to let them know!
25. Don’t deal with a complaint with reality. No one does. Deal with your OWN reality.
26. If you believe your customers are a pain in the butt, TELL them!
27. When the customer is wrong, they’re dead wrong. TELL them!
28. Your Point of Sale Poster at an electronics store reads: Don’t ask us to change the channel… the TV is for OUR enjoyment, not YOURS.
29. If you can’t dazzle the customer with brilliance, riddle them with bullets.
30. Argue long enough to get the last word, and you just might get it!
31. Repetitive arguing with a customer will eventually establish your validity.
32. Tell the customer the item they want is in stock when it isn’t, and quickly charge their order to their credit card. It will get restocked sooner or later…just put off their calls until it arrives, and you’ve made a quick sale! It’s also hilarious fun to think of them checking their mailboxes each day for weeks on end with anticipation of its arrival.
33. Defeat to a customer ain’t bitter if you can sprinkle them with a little dirty revenge.
34. Use voice mail on your telephone system with the option for customer service to ‘press 2′. Have a canned recording for the customer to leave a message for screening purposes. Just don’t return the complaint calls.
35. Our company’s Mission Statement has been revised. Our goal is to see how many customers we can piss off this month.
36. If all else fails, blame the customer!
37. State that they’re calling you a bitch like as if it was a bad thing.
38. When someone asks to speak to a manager, tell them none are available.
39. You can be one of those bad things that happens to good people.
40. Provide different store policies and services throughout your store that conflicts just to confuse people.
41. A good scapegoat is hard to find…do your earnest to find yours.
42. An argument long winded enough will end up in semantics.
43. When all else fails, mumble.
44. Anyone can admit they were wrong…the true test is not admitting it to anyone!
45. Be the best at talking in circles, for you shall be known as the ‘big wheel’.
46. Tell the customer you didn’t say it was their fault…you said you were going to blame them.
47. Inform the customer they have the right to remain silent. Anything they say will be misquoted then used against them.
The Customer Service Counter:
48. To hell with calm and rational discussion with customers over refunds…now is the time for shameless bickering!
49. Sign at customer service desk: Thank you for not annoying us more than you already are.
50. What part of our policy for things not covered for returns — 1) changing your mind; 2) found cheaper price; 3) things you didn’t need but you couldn’t resist the price — do you not understand?!
51. Sign at customer service counter: I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandmother…not screaming and yelling like the customers I shot yesterday.
52. Let’s see…we’ve got your name, address, rank and serial number, home number, cell phone number, your mother’s maiden name…oh yes, we still need…
53. Guaranteed your money back…if we feel like it.
54. Sign at customer service desk: If you can read this, you are within aim range…oops, I mean in proper file formation.
55. Sign at customer service: Don’t get me mad…I’m running out of places to bury the bodies.
56. Never underestimate the power of stupidity when you’re the customer service manager.
57. There is always one person in the customer service department that understands and works well with people. This person must be fired.
58. Tell the customer you’re sorry to hear they’re unhappy. Now follow through the process of closing their account. You’ll never have to be bothered by them again!
59. When a customer brings back an item for return that you sent them in error, try to talk them into keeping it. If they flatly refuse, try to talk them into splitting the cost of re-stocking the item.
60. Make the customer angry enough in a manner to make them happy to be leaving. At that point you’ve done your job!
61. Sign at customer service counter: Bring on the customer return beheadings!
How to Anger a Customer Even Further:
62. When a customer makes a complaint, just give them a blank stare. If that doesn’t work, give them attitude. It will work every time!
63. Throw the customer a stick and ask them to go away.
64. Show the customer you can get even madder than they are, and yell louder than they can.
65. Take on a bad attitude. It will surely diminish any façade of friendliness the customer may have mistakenly taken.
66. State if you agreed with them you’d both be wrong.
67. Keep looking at your watch while the customer is vocalizing their complaint.
68. Treat the customer like they’re a waste receptacle. End of that story.
69. Tell the customer you’ve fixed the problem. But don’t do anything…at ALL.
70. Explain that just because you don’t care about their problem doesn’t mean you don’t understand.
71. State you’re there to help them out, then ask which way they came in.
72. Tell the customer you’re busy and they’re not the only one waiting.
73. Tell them you refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.
74. Tell the customer the way you see it, there doesn’t seem to be any problem.
75. Explain that their warrantee expired upon payment of their invoice.
76. Keep talking until the customer finally stops listening.
77. Tell the customer to commit suicide and be done with it. After all, millions of lemmings can’t be wrong.
78. Inform the customer that this is the best time for them to just shut up.
79. State that you’ll try to be nicer if they’ll try to be smarter.
80. Sarcasm is just one of the many good services we offer.
Ways to Handle Telephone Calls:
81. Sorry, I can’t take your order…I’m on lunch break.
82. Throw the customer on hold before they can squeak out ‘Hello’. Now you can take that much desired coffee break.
83. If you have an angry customer on the phone; don’t waste your time with it…simply hang up!
84. Throw a big wad of gum in your mouth when answering the phone…remember to chew with your mouth open. That goes for eating your lunch while answering phones as well.
85. Tell the customer to call back when you’re not so busy.
86. Rush through calls, forcing customers off the phone at the earliest opportunity.
87. Slam the receiver in the customers’ ear when you hang up to break their eardrums, or drop the receiver on the floor while talking to them. Even a good couple of whacks on a desk with the receiver in hand during conversation should suffice.
88. Tell the customer ‘that’s not my department, call back and ask for someone else to help you’.
89. Try waiting to see how long a customer will sit on hold before they finally hang up and go away.
90. Tell the customer they’re going to have to repeat their information; you’re only the third person they’ve had to speak to thus far.
91. Tell the customer that someone will be calling them back within 1 hour. But don’t follow through with it whatever you do!
Courier Service Companies:
92. Flipping the bird in traffic and making rude gestures while you’ve got your company logo and phone number on the vehicle.
93. Drive in reverse to the receiving door and slam on the brakes and watch it fly…’Here’s your delivery! We don’t do hand bombing!’
94. Sure, we’re available 365 / 24 / 7 to serve you…just don’t call us after 2pm or on weekends.
95. God help the customers today…our dispatcher quit smoking last night.
96. You want it when? Then laugh out loud when they answer.
97. Here’s our rate sheet…de jour.
98. We only have 1 truck today…you’ll have to pay tractor trailer rates for that skid.
99. Sorry, the driver had a flat tire…again.
100. Sorry, we don’t take envelopes on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays…only high paying jobs.
101. Open unmarked small brown paper packages, then deliver to customer. Then make comments on their contents.
102. One tequila…two tequila…three tequila…floor.
103. If you’re the waiter and a customer complains about their food, make sure to instill the fear of what the cook (or you for that matter) can do with their food when they send it back…you know what I mean. They’ll think twice about following through with that complaint!
104. Be a ghost. Only appear to their table when you can’t escape the customers’ sight. When you finally get around to giving them their bill, give them someone else’s with a much higher total. Cha-ching $$$.
105. Strike up an argument with the customer as to why they didn’t give you a fatter tip…you deserve better!
At the Checkout Counter:
106. Be sure to turn your back on the customer standing at the till and do spill ALL about the great time you had at that party last night to your coworker. Don’t forget to tell your friend about that awesome outfit you wore to the party either.
107. Your Point of Sale Poster at the checkout counter reads: If you like us, tell us. If you don’t, don’t tell US your problems.
108. How do I set my cash register on stun?
Miscellaneous Customer Service:
109. Customer stress is waking up screaming, then realizing you haven’t gone to sleep yet.
110. If you can’t beat your customer in an argument, try kickboxing.
111. Deja moo: The feeling you’ve heard this customer bull before.
112. An armed sales rep equals one very polite customer.
As many of you know, I have made it my mission to change the world’s view point of customer service. Too many people today have just accepted the fact that no matter where they go, they will receive less than acceptable customer service. THAT’S NOT ACCEPTABLE!
When we work so hard for the money we have, why spend it at a business establishment (no matter what type of business) that provides you less than superior customer service? Does it really make sense to hand your money over that way? Still not clear… okay, let me present this to you in another way. You go to a restaurant and ask for a steak. The waitress brings you out a piece of chicken. You shrug your shoulders and say, “okay, that’s fine.” Furthermore, you eat the chicken and still leave the waitress a tip…would you really accept that? No, of course not! But that is the type of unacceptable customer service we are receiving in other places of business and just nodding our heads, and saying okay! STOP THE MADNESS PEOPLE!
For all you customers out there (which means everyone), it is time to reclaim your God given right to receive Great Customer Service. It’s called Free Will people, and I’m going to use my free will to change the world’s view on customer service. One of the ways I plan on doing this is by refusing to do business anywhere that I receive poor customer service. Are you willing to help me in this mission? All you have to do is this: stop doing business in places that don’t appreciate your business. And, let them know that you are no longer going to do business there and why. Sometimes business owners or managers do not know there is a problem until you let them know, so make sure you tell them. Once we start changing our views on what we accept as customer service, the businesses will adapt to start pleasing us better. It makes sense, doesn’t it!
As for all of you employees and employers out there, there are certain steps you can take to make sure your customers receive the best customer service around. And, when you start providing that type of customer service, your customers will keep coming back for more. In fact, if you provide them with the best service they can get anywhere and with a little flair, they will come back more often because they can’t get enough of it.
So, what are the steps? Follow these certain steps to assure your customers will be coming back for more: (I have broken this down into two stages. One for employers and one for employees please read both!)
Provide training to your employees on how to treat your customers. If you are unsure of how this should be done, please visit my blog at what-customer-service.blogspot.com and email me and I will set up a training class for you. Think of it this way… what do your customers’ expect to get from your business. This is obviously different for every business and also depends on the type of business you have. But put yourself in your customer’s shoes…If you were the customer, what would you expect to see in terms of customer service? Once you have clearly defined that, you can then train the employees on how to provide it.
Set the standards high for your employees and make sure they stick to it. However, don’t just use this as a tool to “write up” or “fire” your employees. Let me be clear… if you have an employee who you need to fire then by all means do so. But I don’t believe in the type of management that only uses negative reinforcement. I believe that you should also use positive reinforcement with your employees as well. In fact, you’ll find that the more positive reinforcement you use, the more you’ll get out of your employees. Don’t use fear management. It breeds negativity and bad morale and eventually your customers can feel and sense it. This will only further lead to poor customer service.
Having Mystery shops of your business is a great way to find out how your employees are doing. Now, having said this again I go back to my last point, do not use this as a fear management tactic. I have worked for a business that did this and believe me it only breeds negativity and poor morale and again only leads to poor customer service because the customers sense the tension with your employee. Now, if you do not know what mystery shopping is, let me clear it up for you. Mystery shopping is where you have someone pose as a customer or potential customer to see what kind of customer experience they receive when they come to your business. Again, the standards that are in place all depend on your type of business and what you have trained your employees to provide to the customer. Obviously if you haven’t trained them yet, do not do this until you have. Now, mystery shopping can be done in several ways. You can hire a company to do this for you. You provide the company with the criteria that your employees should meet and what you want the mystery customer to do and say. Then, they will hire a mystery shopper to come in posing as the customer and the mystery shopper will report back to the company you hired on how your employee did with full details on each of the criteria and an overall grade. The company then gives you the details on the mystery shop. It is a great way to test your customer’s overall experience and further train your employees. Now, a few things I recommend. Do not tell your employees that you are doing this. If they know, they will be nervous and treat your customers differently. It is more natural if you just have them doing what they always do to grade the normal customer experience. Once you have received the feed back, use it as a training tool for not just that employee but all of them so everyone is on the same level. And reward the employee for a job well done. If you don’t want to hire a company to do the mystery shopping, you can ask a friend or family member to pose as the customer and grade the experience. Or, survey your customers on how well they thought their overall experience was, what they liked about it, what they didn’t like about it, and what they thought you could do differently!
Lastly, and I can’t stress this enough, the only way to provide great customer service is to have a customer service standard, have a plan on how your employees will deliver your standards, and test the standards. Also, pay your employees what they deserve and provide them rewards for going the extra mile. If your employees are making minimum wage and not getting any incentive to “go the extra mile”, then you won’t get anything extra from them and neither will your customers. Your employees are the face of your business. The service your business receives comes directly from your employees, so make sure your employees are getting a fair deal.
First of all, when you are working with customers, no matter what your occupation, think of it this way…How would you want to be treated if you were that client?
If you are unhappy about your current job, don’t take it out on the customer. Remember, it is not their fault that you are unhappy with your job and it’s not their fault that you’re in the situation you are in, whatever it may be. Again, remember, what would you expect if you were the customer?
When talking with a client, first of all, smile! Say Hello, how can I help you? If you are not behind a counter of some kind, shake their hand, introduce yourself and ask their name. Then, ask them how you can be of assistance.
If your employer has a standard for customer service, make sure you know what it is and abide by it. And, at the end of the year, when you get your annual review, make sure you remind your boss in writing how you met that standard and ask that it be added to your annual review.
If you work in a store of some kind, like a grocery store, department store, etc…why do you ignore customers as they walk by you? Why do you try to run them over as you are wandering around the store? When you go into a store do you expect to be run over, run down, or ignored? And when you are, does it bother you? Here’s my point – it should not matter where you work, you should never ignore a customer walking past and you are never more important than a customer. This is a valuable lesson to learn. No matter who you are or where you work, you have to learn to appreciate your customers! Think of it this way – not only that you could be that customer getting the poor service but more importantly, if it wasn’t for that customer, you wouldn’t have a job! Remember that the next time you ignore a customer.
The fact of the matter is that customer service is ignored or takes second place to growing a business and increasing profitability. When in fact, great customer service will do just that, grow your business and make it more profitable.
If you survey a room of 50 people, 94% of the people in the room would tell you that they have not received good customer service lately. Furthermore, they would tell you that they have received extremely poor service recently, more than they wish to recall.
I believe that together, we can change the way we are treated as customers and the way we treat customers. If we all work together to change the view point of everyone, then maybe we can bring back the days in which customers were respected and could recall more examples of “Great Customer Service” rather than poor customer service.
Please feel free to email me. In order to email me, you must visit my blog at what-customer-service.blogspot.com and then find my email link. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments not only about this article but examples of customer service you have received lately. Thank you in advance for assisting me in my mission.
As the wind of economic cycles blows hard, some businesses try to contain costs by cutting corners on customer service quality. This is exactly the wrong thing to do, because customer service quality matters now more than ever. Here’s why:
A. When people buy during an economic downturn they are extremely conscious of the hard-earned money that they spend. Customers want more attention, more appreciation and more recognition when making their purchases with you, not less. Customer service quality is simply essential.
B. Customers want to be sure they get maximum value for the money they spend. They want assistance, education, training, installation, modifications and support. The basic product may remain the same, but they want more service and higher customer service quality.
C. Customers want firmer guarantees that their purchase was the right thing to do. In good times, a single bad purchase can be quickly overlooked or forgotten, but in tough times, every expenditure is scrutinized. Provide the assurance your customers seek with generous service guarantees, regular follow-up and speedy follow-through on all queries and complaints. Customer service quality matters more than you think.
D. In difficult economic times, people spend less time traveling and “wining and dining,” and more time carefully shopping for each and every purchase. Giving great service enhances the customer’s shopping experience and boosts your own company’s image.
When times are good, people move fast and sometimes don’t notice your efforts. In tougher times, people move more cautiously and notice every extra effort you make. Customer service quality is vital because people will pay attention and remember.
E. When money is tight, many people experience a sense of lower self-esteem. When they get good service from your business, it boosts their self-image. And when they feel good about themselves, they feel good about you. And when they feel good about you and your customer service quality, they buy.
F. In tough times, people talk more with each other about saving money and getting good value. Positive word-of-mouth is a powerful force at any time. In difficult times, even more ears will be listening. Be sure the words spoken about your business are good ones by making your customer service quality exceptional!
The Secrets of Superior Service
Giving high customer service quality in tough times makes good business sense. But how do you actually achieve it? Here are eight proven principles you can use to raise customer service quality. I call them The Secrets of Superior Service.
1. Understand how your customers’ expectations are rising and changing over time. What was good enough last year may not be good enough now. Use customer surveys, interviews and focus groups to understand what your customers really want, what they value and what they believe they are getting (or not getting) from your business.
2. Use customer service quality to differentiate your business from your competition. Your products may be reliable and up-to-date – but your competitors’ goods are, too. Your delivery systems may be fast and user-friendly, but so are your competitors’!
You can make a more lasting difference by providing personalized, responsive and extra-mile customer service quality that stands out in a unique way your customers will appreciate – and remember.
3. Set and achieve high standards for customer service quality. You can go beyond basic and expected levels of service to provide your customers with desired and even surprising service interactions.
Determine the standard customer service quality in your industry, and then find a way to go beyond it. Give more choice than “the usual,” be more flexible than “normal,” be faster than “the average’,” and extend a better warranty than all the others.
Your customers will notice your higher standards. But eventually those standards will be copied by your competitors, too. So don’t slow down. Keep stepping up customer service quality!
4. Learn to manage your customers’ expectations. You can’t always give customers everything their hearts desire. Sometimes you need to bring their expectations into line with what you know you can deliver in regard to customer service quality.
The best way to do this is by first building a reputation for making and keeping clear promises. Once you have established a base of trust and good reputation, you only need to ask your customers for their patience in the rare instances when you cannot meet their first requests. Nine times out of ten they will extend the understanding and the leeway that you need.
The second way to manage customers’ expectations is to “under promise, then over deliver.”. Here’s an example: you know your customer wants something done fast. You know it will take an hour to complete. Don’t tell your customer it will take an hour. Instead, let them know you will rush on their behalf, but promise a 90-minute timeframe.
Then, when you finish in just one hour (as you knew you would all along), your customer will be delighted to find that you finished the job “so quickly.” That’s “under promise, then over deliver.” This can help you gain a reputation for customer service quality.
5. Bounce back with effective service recovery. Sometimes things do go wrong. When it happens to your customers, do everything you can to set things right and demonstrate customer service quality. Fix the problem and show sincere concern for any discomfort, frustration or inconvenience. Then do a little bit more by giving your customer something positive to remember – a token of goodwill, a gift of appreciation,
a discount on future orders, an upgrade to a higher class of product.
This is not the time to assign blame for what went wrong or to calculate the costs of repair. Restoring customer goodwill is worth the price in positive word-of-mouth and new business.
6. Appreciate your complaining customers. Customers with complaints can be your best allies in building and improving your business. They point out where your system is faulty or your procedures are weak and problematic. They show where your products or services are below expectations. They point out areas where your competitors are getting ahead or where your staff is falling behind. These are the same insights and conclusions companies pay consultants to provide. But a complainer gives them to you free and can help you raise customer service quality!
And remember, for every person who complains, there are many more who don’t bother to tell you. The others just take their business elsewhere…and speak badly about you. At least the complainer gives you a chance to reply and set things right.
7. Take personal responsibility. In many organizations, people are quick to blame others for problems or difficulties at work: managers blame staff, staff blame managers, Engineering blames Sales, Sales blames Marketing and everyone blames Finance. This does not help. In fact, all the finger-pointing make things much worse.
Blaming yourself doesn’t work, either. No matter how many mistakes you may have made, tomorrow is another chance to do better. You need high self-esteem to deliver customer service quality. Feeling ashamed doesn’t help.
It doesn’t make sense to make excuses and blame the computers, the system or the budget, either. This kind of justification only prolongs the pain before the necessary changes can take place.
The most reliable way to bring about constructive change in your organization is to take personal responsibility and help make good things happen. When you see something that needs to be done, do it to raise customer service quality. If you see something that needs to be done in another department, recommend it. Be the person who makes suggestions, proposes new ideas and volunteers to help on problem solving teams, projects and solutions.
8. See the world from each customer’s point of view. We often get so caught up in our own world that we lose sight of what our customers actually experience.
Make time to stand on the other side of the counter or listen on the other end of the phone. Be a “mystery shopper” at your own place of business. Or become a customer of your best competition. What you notice when you look from the “other side” is what your customers experience every day.
Finally, always remember that customer service quality is the currency that keeps our economy moving. I serve you in one business, you serve me in another. When either of us improves customer service quality, the economy gets a little better. When both of us improve, people are sure to take notice. When everyone improves, the whole world grows stronger and closer together.