We are all Customers and We all have Customers
We have all at some point experienced outstanding Customer Service as well as experienced the most appalling Customer Service and then something in between. We have also experienced some outstanding Customers as well as experienced the most appalling Customers.
Can you relate to the following letter from the Customer point of view?
To the Customer Service Officer,
Bad News is Better than No News
Keep us posted. If nothing has changed, let us know! If things have turned bad, let us know! Uncertainty creates stress because we are unable to take any action if we don’t know what is going on. When we know what is happening we can make decisions and take actions. But, even worse than not having any information, is having inaccurate information. Please, please, please tell us how things are, not what you think we want to hear
Provide Solutions, Not Excuses
Problems do come up, when you notify us of the problem, we want to know what the possible solutions are. Remember: we are concerned with solving our problems, not the reasons why you can’t help.
For example, if you are the Realtor selling our houses we don’t want to know that they aren’t selling because the market is slow; we want to know what we need to do to sell our houses in a slow market. Or, if there is an annoying glitch with a car we just purchased we don’t want to hear “they all do that”; we want to know what it’s going to take to fix it.
Act As Though We are the Most Important People You Will Meet Today (or at least act like you want our business)
We want to be treated with dignity, courtesy, and respect. There’s no need to be flattering – just give us your time and attention and be genuinely happy to see us. If you treat us as well as you’d treat the person who signs your pay check we would feel of some value (bottom line, one way or another, we do sign your pay check).
If You Don’t Know, Please Find Out
It’s a busy world and we don’t expect you to know everything. However, we do expect you to be willing to provide us with the information we need and will promptly track down any answers you don’t have.
Don’t Make Excuses and Don’t Make Your Problems Our Problems
We do realise there are times when situations are beyond your control that prevent you from providing the level of service you would normally give. Although we also know that if you are committed to providing excellent service you will acknowledge and apologise for the problems that have arisen and do what you can to rectify or alleviate the situation.
Keep Your Commitments or Keep us Informed
This goes hand in hand with providing accurate information. Life happens, things come up, and we understand that. However the sooner we know about problems, the sooner we can make adjustments and minimise their effect on our lives. This applies whether you are a consultant delivering sophisticated software with a newly discovered bug, a medical office running behind schedule, a waiter letting us know that the food we ordered has been delayed.
Rectify Problems without Prompting
If you know there is a problem, don’t wait for us to discover it or complain about it before you fix it. We may not always vocalise our displeasure at problems, but that doesn’t mean we are not upset. There are a large number of us who will quietly leave dissatisfied and take our money elsewhere.
However this will have a massive ripple effect as each individual potentially influences 250 other people (through family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, social media). This means each dissatisfied customer results in 250 people with a negative attitude about you. The invisible costs to a business of dissatisfied customers can be staggering!
Take Time to Understand Our Needs
Listen to our wants, concerns and needs. Take the extra few minutes to understand what we are trying to do and how we’ll be using your products or services. That way you can confirm whether we’ve chosen the best solution or provide ideas and advice on a better solution. In the short time it takes to discover our needs can be the difference between lost sales, ambivalent customers, or ecstatic repeat customers.
Focus on the Second, Third, and Fourth Sale, Not the First
If you are focused on today’s small profit, you’ll miss out on the higher ongoing profits. When you focus only on today you may be tempted to tell us what we want to hear (instead of what we need to hear); sell us services or products that we don’t want or need; dismiss our concerns as irrelevant; or be discourteous or disrespectful.
Remember it costs less to retain customers than to find new ones.
Your Clients, Customers and Everyone With Whom You Interact