It seems to get harder and harder to find great Customer Service these days.
Corporations are taking people out of the equation, pushing us to automation.
I can’t do a foreign currency transaction via teller or online; When I pick up my currency, I wait in long lines because of staffing reductions, because I am dis-incented to use tellers.)
I can’t figure out how to get my mileage questions answered via the automated phone system without them trying to get all the information for the trip I haven’t yet planned.
In my work with early stage companies, I don’t often see great Customer Service as an integral part of the plan and implementation. I think it is because it is such an anomaly that it has left our lexicon of expectations! Too often I ask, how are we staffing customer service? How are we going to field questions from our customers? How are we going to survey our customers to see if the product is good?
I know that, inside, we are all crying out for great Customer Service; but we seem to have forgotten to demand it, forgotten that it is not a luxury, but that we have the right to expect good Customer Service. Period!
The more we receive poor service, the more we become accustomed to it. The fight is out of us.
Don’t tell me that we accept it in lieu of good pricing, great deals! The staples of good Customer Service – Courtesy, Responsiveness, Commitment to owning and solving the problem – these should never be absent. It is what I pay for.
For those of us in Leadership positions, we cannot afford to have the fight taken out of us. We need to understand that what we are about, is delighting our customer more than our competition. It has to be a central part of our mission.
When we do that, our customers will pay us with loyalty – and given that our customers hardly expect to see themselves put at the center of companies’ strategies anymore, when they do see it, it is worth gold!
I am working with an early stage company in Brazil called Mandae. They get it. They are totally disrupting the first mile Express pickup space – They solve a painful customer process with innovative process and technology. The customer saves time and aggravation, and the packaging of their product is improved, leading to higher margins and more sales. Convenience!
But as important, Mandae focused from day 1 on redefining what it means to give the customer a great experience. Frankly, they did not need to do it to succeed. Their process innovation alone sells; but they focused on creating a great experience when a Mandae employee picks up the customer’s product to be shipped, when the employees pack the product, and when the customer calls Customer Service. Mandae gets that a great customer experience translates to loyalty, which translates to growth. Eight out of ten customers recommend Mandae to others!
At the end of the day, our customers have tremendous choice in their purchases.
But they have very little choice when it comes to great service.
Be that choice!