Will a Real Customer Service Person Please Stand Up – Or at Least Answer the Phone?

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

If you have shopped or retained the services of any kind of company anytime lately, whether offline or online, chances are pretty good one of these scenarios is like deja-vu all over again…

> You have tried and tried to call a company’s toll free number during “regular business hours” only to be directed to leave a message… which you have done…too many times to count. You have yet to receive a call back.

> You have sent an email to Customer Service at XYZ.com to ask an important question that you need an answer to, stat. You want to buy a product, become a customer, resolve an issue, but you need some help first. Heartened by the fact that you received an acknowledgement promising you a prompt response, you wait patiently….then not so patiently…finally beginning to wonder at the meaning of “prompt”. Maybe you eventually get a response, maybe you don’t. Either way, you’ve likely already decided to ______ (shop elsewhere, return the product, write a bad review, never do business there again…you fill in the blank).

> You are standing at a checkout or help desk counter watching & waiting while the Customer Service folk are huddled together on the other side chatting, giggling, and loudly broadcasting way too much information about last night’s date, or about how much of a jerk their manager is as the line on your side gets longer & longer.

> You are inquiring about a product or service and ask several questions to which the Customer Service Agent replies simply, “ummm, good question, I dunno”, and then proceeds NOT to offer to find out for you.

The Lost Art of Customer Service

Tell me…when did Customer-Focused Service become a thing of the past? When did companies stop realizing the value of instilling good Customer Service skills, training, and policies in their employees? When did we, the paying customer, stop being “always right”?

As the owner of a service-based small business, I know that today more than ever, as the world becomes more and more “wired” and less and less “connected”, the way to truly set your business apart from all the rest is through continuously acknowledging the value of your customers. It’s not enough to say it, or write it down in your company procedures manual, you have to embody it and model it from the CEO to the checkout clerk or the agent who answers your emails or mans your Live Chat service.

Good customer service is not adequate anymore. If you want your business to boom, you need exceptional, go-the-extra-mile, authentic, connected, knowledgeable customer service. Because there is such a lack of it, being able to say you have it is the perfect unique selling proposition for your business. Shout it to the hills! Promote it everywhere! It can differentiate you from a competitor who sells the exact product or service at the same price….or even a lower price….than you do!

Sure, price is important. Of course, we all take it into consideration when making purchase decisions. But personally, if I had the option of Company A whose product or service was cheaper, but you could never get a question answered or a concern dealt with, and Company B whose product or service costs a bit more but they are responsive, informed, and proactive, I will pay the extra dollars every time.

“Every time”…isn’t that what every business owner wants? A customer who comes back time and time again? It costs money to attract customers. If they are let down by poor customer service, it doesn’t matter how good your product or service is…they will take their business elsewhere and the money you’ve spent to acquire them is gone along with them. In effect, you are anti-marketing, because you can bet that when that customer leaves, their story about the bad customer experience will go with them and they will be happy to spread the word.

If your business has yet to adopt a customer-first service concept, or only has it in theory but not in practice, or even if you think you already have great customer service, take the time to brush off what is arguably the most important policy & procedure guideline you have. How are you going the extra mile, creating a personal experience, connecting with your customer, and ensuring they will come back for more? Regularly review your competition. Are you positioning yourself at above them, or is it maybe time for a few tweaks?

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  1. Some customer service person are nice. While others are just plain rude.

  2. Your blog is very well put together. I will keep reading all of your blog post.

  3. I am very much appreciate to see this article. This is really too good. Most of the people do not aware about this. But I think after reading this blog everyone will be helpful. Thanks for sharing this kind of blog with us.

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