Customer service is incredibly important to me. Frankly, it’s more important to me than the product or service itself.
It is actually possible for those two sentences, to be my blog’s beginning, middle and end. But that wouldn’t be very much fun would it?
Every time I “enjoy” a poor customer service experience, I recoil and remember, just how important it really is. I have made more decisions than I care to admit, exclusively because the service was so poor, I could not continue my patronage of that agency, store, bank, restaurant, dealership etc. Some of those decisions have come back to bite me, because the product was actually better from the badly serviced company – but I always vote with my feet and any regret I may feel is rarely lasting.
Based on the conversations I have had with people over the years, I tend to think I’m not alone in my perspective.
Today, I had two negative experiences, almost back-to-back, from two dramatically different industries. In both cases, I pay a premium dollar in support of what is supposed to be a premium service/experience. Both cases created the same negative feelings inside me, both the result of a simple lack of empathy.
So, what to do?
Well, while I am only a sample size of one, I have had the pleasure of leading enough customer service training sessions in my career that I can confidently put forth a list of things to consider or (at least) remember when dealing with clients:
Do unto others. That’s right, the ‘Golden Rule” should be at the forefront of every client interaction, because we are all customers sometimes.
Providing a quality customer service experience, is the hardest thing to do well in business. It’s subjective, never-ending, emotionally (and sometimes) physically draining, expected by everyone and appreciated by (significantly) less than everyone.
Empathy is your greatest ally. Demonstrate it. While you may not understand your client’s situation, always try to appreciate it.
The customer is not always right. However, you will not get very far by explaining to them why they are wrong.
Read all non-verbal cues. A client recoiling at your suggestion, solution, or proposition should be telling to you. If not, see #3 above.
If you are selling a premium service or product, don’t be surprised when you are held to a premium standard.
How a customer feels at the end of your interaction with them is (almost) always within your control… even when the answer is, no.
If you find yourself becoming progressively more bitter to those you are tasked with servicing, the problem is yours.
Unhappy clients (almost) never forget. That’s no fun for anyone.
Always remember which one of you is the customer.
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