Do you get fed up with the poor customer service that you receive from businesses? Do you, like me, wonder whether this concept of customer care is either a myth or a fiction of our imagination?
I can count the number of times when I have interacted with a customer assistant and have gone away thinking – “wow, that was a good experience”. And when I do, like in the case of a recent telephone interaction with an assistant at Virgin Media, who went beyond the call of duty to support me with my query, I make sure that I draw it to the attention of the business owner.
So, as I said, this experience is not regular enough. Quite recently, I went into a well-established super store, to purchase a large number of glass vases for some table centre pieces for an event that I was planning. There were trolleys and huge bags available to carry the wares around the store, but I naturally assumed that as I was purchasing quite a large amount of fragile goods, that there would be an assistant who would willingly package these items for me in a box or some other carrier so that I could safely transport them home.
No such luck, I saw two gentlemen assistants, standing having a chat, so I politely asked whether they could help me with my purchase. They nodded their heads in the negative, telling me quite bluntly that they did not stock boxes and that I would just have to carry them home in carrier bags just like that. I wasn’t having it, as it brought me back to a previous experience, that time in a hairdressing salon – where customer care was definitely a figment of that establishment’s imagination.
Anyway, I insisted, and luckily for me a Manager happened to be passing and probably saw what was happening and started to hover around a bit. One of the assistants had already walked off, but the other; aware that his Manager was nearby, suddenly became very helpful. Miraculously he found me a cardboard box from the same area that we were standing, packed the vases in for me, taking great care to place flattened cardboard in between the rows of vases! Unbelievably, had I not persisted I would either have had to leave without the goods that I needed, or risked taking them home, perhaps with several broken items. I don’t understand why this positive approach was not adopted from the outset. The Assistants’ attitude did not just create a negative impression in my mind but also projected a very negative view of the establishment.
How do you manage customer service in your business? Are you aware of the impression that your staff are creating about your business? How do you manage customer feedback? If you haven’t yet got a robust customer feedback system, now is the time to introduce one. Poor customer service can have a knock on effect on customer referrals, and ultimately the performance and profitability of your businesses. And never underestimate the power of social networking to spread your poor customer service globally in a split instant!
When I decided to set up my own business I decided then and there that my unique selling point was simply going to be the ‘customer experience that I offer’. My customers are made to feel that they are the most important people in my world. They are always right. There are no services too big or too small that we will not offer and if we can’t, we refer them to others who we think might be able to help them. When I engage Associates to collaborate on a project with me, that is the first point I stress, “Please treat my customers with care and respect”.
So how about you, do you put your customers at the centre of your world? In a world which is so competitive, your customer experience is really the only unique selling point that matters. Underneath all the scientific stuff, the simple fact is that “people buy people” and if you are not connecting with them and fixing their pain, then they will find someone else who will.
Tell us about your customer services experiences good or bad. Let us dispel the myths or perhaps confirm the facts about customer services?
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