Customer Service in America is horrible at best. Search online for the term “customer service” and you’ll find hundreds of millions of results. So why is it so hard to get great service? Great service isn’t hard. It just takes thinking. Thinking about who you’re serving, what they need, and how to deliver it in a positive manner. There are two simple ideas that when followed, will help you create positive, consistent, experiences with your customers.
Focus on the 99%.
Why are companies always establishing new policies that annoy or anger 99.8% of its customers to take care of the 0.2% or less sometimes of those that may be the offender? Don’t you know that you have to take care of your 99% plus customer base or they’ll go elsewhere? We all know that as customers, but corporate America doesn’t believe that. It’s clear that they believe that we won’t go elsewhere so they can treat people however they want.
Here are a few suggestions to offering REAL customer service, not the current customer dis-service that is what we are currently getting from the corporate giants:
Don’t feel restricted by policies. If a customer wants a refund after 40 days (10 days past our 30 day refund deadline), just give it to them.
Requiring a receipt for a return is ludicrous. You have complex systems for tracking inventory, stocking, pricing, serials, etc. yet for me to return something I need to prove that it came from you by showing you a receipt? Please.
When a customer is frustrated over chat or just isn’t getting it, sometimes it helps to give them a call.
If a customer is upset, forget the policies. Give them a full refund. Give them something extra. Send them a free gift.
If a customer is angry that the product doesn’t work like they thought it would (even if it is a known incompatibility), replace it, better yet give them a new product that works free.
If a customer goes out of their way to write an email and thank us, send them a package with something free.
Respond quickly to emails and chats. Give customers on the phone the attention that is needed to quickly resolve the problem.
Win the customer.
Winning customers centers on the idea that your customers are not just the customers from the moment they walk in the door to your business or visit your Web site, etc. They are the customer 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They are always the customer. Companies have started to treat people as one time customers, and not as life-long customers. People are loyal to themselves first and if you don’t take care of them, they will go elsewhere.
People don’t know good service until they get it. When they receive good service they go, “Wow!” and make the choice to switch to the new service provider.
The customer is NOT always right, but they are ALWAYS the customer.
Don’t take the easy way out and say NO, find a way to say YES.
Don’t hide behind a policy, do what’s right.
99.6% of the customer were good compared to those that were bad, why create policies to hurt those good customers?
Nordstroms once took back and refunded a pair of tires. Nordstroms doesn’t even sell tires. They won that customer.
Just because we make a special situation for one person, doesn’t mean that everyone else will want that too! Make that customer happy.
Great customer service isn’t hard. But you have to always know and train to recognize the needs of the customer. Few companies set out to offer bad service, but many struggle in defining what is great service and end up offering mediocre service.
Great service means paying attention to what’s important in your customers’ eyes. What really counts for the customer? Are you consistently trying to do those things that make it count? Are your actions and policies creating great experiences and emotions that will be associated with your brand?
Flavio Martins is The Customer Service Management Coach. As a blogger and service fanatic, bad service keeps him up at night so he’s on a mission to make excellent service consistent, simple, and easy.