Customer service plays a huge role in whether or not we will do business with someone again. Therefore when it comes to our own customer service we really do need to understand exactly what our customers want and need from us.
The other day I had 2 very different customer service experiences and I want to share them with you, dissect them and discover what it was about each that impacted how I felt at the time!
I went from being very cross and annoyed to feeling happy and valued!
Customer Service No. 1
I needed to sort out an issue I had with my mobile phone. Basically the bill was wrong – I had been overcharged! So I went into town to the mobile phone shop to speak to one of the customer service team.
The lady was pleasant and explained I would need to speak to an advisor on the phone as the store had no access to the billing system. Fair enough.
So they suggested I phone from the store so that if I needed any assistance during the call they could be available to help. Sounds good so far.
So I called the help line number and explained the situation.
As time went on I could feel myself getting cross! :-/
While trying to explain the situation and on numerous other occasions during the call, the guy on the other end of the phone kept interrupting me.
This made me feel:
1. that he really wasn’t that interested
2. that he didn’t respect me
3. that he was trying to hurry up and end the call
Using words like:
“I’m not sure”
“I don’t think there is anything I can do”
“I would need to check that”
“I’m pretty sure you can’t”
“I don’t know how to solve that”
“I can’t help you – it can only be done online”
Now I’m not suggesting that there will never be occasions whereby you need to check up on advice or that perhaps there really is nothing that you can do about something but when you get a stream of those types of comments on one phone call, one begins to wonder whether you have someone who really knows their job!
By the end of the call I was being led to believe that a computer had more power than a real human! Who controls the computer?
I had to finish the call in the end because I could feel myself getting irate and I didn’t want to be rude!
So I left the store feeling very angry and went on my way to a second store where I needed to sort out a different issue – I hadn’t received an important email from the store that I was supposed to.
Customer Service No. 2
The lady who served me smiled and mentioned what a lovely day it was – the sun was shining (yes in the UK). I felt a bit of my crossness disappear…
I explained the situation of the missing email – no interruptions! She listened and I knew she understood.
To be able to help a customer you need to take the time to listen so that you can fully understand what the issue is. Just knowing that the lady was actively listening and following my conversation made me feel valued.
Feeling valued is critical when it comes to customer service.
Admitting A Mistake
The problem with the missing email was that my email address had been entered incorrectly. The lady apologized and stated that they had put it into the system incorrectly and proceeded to enter it again and let me see to make sure it was correct.
The person who had originally entered my email into the database was actually in the store at the time but this lady didn’t point the finger – she took ownership of the issue I was having and dealt with it.
She made sure that I was happy by letting me see that the situation has been corrected – I left with peace of mind.
In fact I left the store feeling bright and cheerful, enjoying the sunshine, singing the happy song!
What a difference!
In the space of 10 minutes I went from being very cross and angry to feeling happy and carefree!
What a difference having the right kind of customer service can make!
Customer Service Is Relative
I wonder how I would have felt about the 2nd customer service experience if I hadn’t just been subjected to a bad experience! It is all relative isn’t it!
Sir Richard Branson says that customer service is an area that any business can improve upon and therefore have a competitive edge.
It can always be improved upon in some way or another because it is relative to that which we have already experienced.
So think about your customer service.
- What do you already do that has a positive impact on your customers? Do more of it!
- Are you encouraging feedback from your customers? If not then add a way for this to happen automatically – such as using your autoresponder to send a followup message after a purchase.
- What things can you do to improve your customer service so that your customers feel valued and important?
- How can you make sure that in an online environment your customers know you are listening, really listening to them? How can you let them know?