Should getting good customer service be a battle?
I find it hard to believe in this day and age and with so much competition between companies that this can even be a topic for me to rant about. Why is Customer service so patchy?
I do sometimes think it must be me. Do I cause the problems? Am I expecting more than I should?
Before I really start this particular rant, I would like to say that I do stand up for myself when I think I have been wronged. Equally, when something is better than I expect, I make sure to leave the appropriate review or express my appreciation in other ways. I think this is fair and balanced.
In the last couple of months, I have had two shocking customer service experiences. It has really made me think.
I will not name the companies or services for obvious reasons.
In both instances of poor customer service, the individuals who I was dealing with had clearly never had any customer training. One of them was titled ‘Technical Director’ and I really have no idea why he was even near a customer service email account. In both these instances, they failed to even listen to my complaint so it was obvious that they were not going to do anything about the situation.
It comes from the top.
In general, I believe the main culprit causing such poor customer service is the leadership of the organisation. Not the individuals answering the phone or email. I generally feel sorry for those taking the calls in this instance.
Looking after customers and putting them at the heart of everything the organisation does is the key to great customer service. The empowerment has to be provided from the top, as does the culture.
If a customer service agent is empowered to take ownership of an issue the results are impressive. In fact, the issues can be sorted out before it becomes a complaint.
How many times have you been told to contact another department? Perhaps you have been advised to call another number. You may even have been told you can’t speak to the team that you need as they don’t talk to customers.
I am a simple soul. I really have no interest in understanding the corporate structure of a company. All I need is just one number or email and for the person on the other end to take ownership. Simple. Very Simple.
Voice of the customer
It is a constant curiosity to me as to who represents the customers needs in an organisation. The needs of the customer must surely inform the service and product – right? Listening to the customer and trying to give them the service they want must surely be pivotal to success. Indeed, they say that ‘Word of mouth’ is the single best form of advertising.
Research suggests that it takes 10 good experiences to repair the damage from 1 bad experience. If this is indeed true, then doing right by the customer, even if that transaction does not make money must surely be the right thing to do. Call it a loss leader.
What does good look like?
I read once that good is-
- Considered – The offering to the customer has been thought about. It is what the customer wants ( Customer Service, Quality of product etc.)
- Consistent – Service and product offerings should be consistent. For large companies this means that the same answers/products are available no matter which store is visited. No matter who is spoken to.
- Simple – Customers just want a simple, easy transaction. No Hassle and little complexity.
Look after the hand that feeds you
In summary, organisations must surely recognise who it is that pays them. Guess who that is! Yep, it’s the customer.
Listen to the customer. Do the right thing by them. Show them good will. It is the customer that determines if you succeed or fail. They have a choice!
Remember that when something goes wrong, it is often not the fact that something has gone wrong that is remembered. It is how you deal with it that will be talked about – good or bad.
To the customer
Remember that the person helping you is often constrained by poor internal policies. Don’t have a go at them. Be Polite but firm.
Should you not get the answer that you are looking for, politely ask for it to be escalated. Be persistent and don’t be ground down.
References and resource
Subscribe to my newsletter – Click here