…Is what we’ve all said (or wished we said) to that business that just seriously screwed up our day.
It’s the fast-food chain that got your order wrong in the drive-thru. It’s the cashier who is more interested in gossiping with co-workers than checking you out. It’s the associate at the counter who puts you on hold to answer the phone.
But these are the obvious offenders – those we’ve all experienced at least once and sadly, usually more. What’s worse? Subtle customer abuse. I’m talking about bad customer service that is so common (but should be common sense) that we’ve become accustomed to it. Businesses that overcome these will win customers hearts for the long-term.
The truth of the matter is that all businesses say they have “great customer service” and yet very few demonstrate it. Because “great customer service” doesn’t mean delivering what is expected. It means delivering what’s not.
So what does great customer service really look like?
- It’s putting the customer first – not your associates, the other customers or even your boss. (Don’t make your customer wait while you finish the paperwork they don’t even need to sign.) It means that every customer, whether standing in front of you or on the phone, feels like they are your number one priority.
- It’s being easy to do business with. It means your policies flex when that’s what’s easiest for the customer, even if it’s not what’s easiest for you.
- It’s genuinely demonstrating that you value their business, no matter how long they have been a customer. It’s avoiding complacency and treating them each and every time as if you are still working hard to earn their business.
- It’s taking the time and making the effort to truly understand what about your product or service makes their life easier, better, richer. And then spending even more time trying to make that better.
- It’s communicating on their terms, which means being where they want to find you. It’s having the information they really care about on your website, actively engaging with them on social media and asking meaningful questions every opportunity you have. And “Did you find everything you needed today?” is not meaningful.
Today’s generation of consumers are frugal, but the good news is they are more concerned with experience than price. Give them an experience that is better than they expected, and they will happily pay for the value you deliver.