Each one of us is an expert on customer experience. At one point or another during the course of our day, every one of us plays the role of the customer. We all know the difference between a good experience and a bad experience. You don’t have to read yet another book to understand this.
So, then, why is good customer service so rare?
Picture in your mind a customer service counter. On one side of the counter is you, the customer. You know exactly what your expectations are: a good product or service at a fair price. If there’s a problem, you want it taken care of as quickly, seamlessly, and painlessly as possible. Simple stuff, right?
But a funny thing happens to people when they move to the other side of the customer service counter (or the front desk or the reception area or the phone or Internet) where they are the ones who are giving service as opposed to receiving it. Unfortunately, this is the place where their behaviors are determined and dominated by the rules, the process, the manual, the bureaucracy, the way it’s always been done:
“Sorry, that’s against our policy.”
“Sorry, we have a rule against that.”
“Sorry, my manager’s off today. Can I get back to you when she gets back?”
When we are customers, we don’t want to hear those excuses. So, when we are dealing with our customers, why would we want to offer up these lame excuses to our customers? It’s as if someone hit the “delete” button on our customer service memory. We forget about the Golden Rule, about empathy, about the customer’s experience. Because organizations are so wrapped up in the day-to-day minutiae, it’s difficult for them to consistently give customer service.
Although we all know that the key to success is a satisfied customer, few of us are as single-minded as Nordstrom in creating and sustaining a customer-obsessed culture and hiring people who fit the culture and who happily provide that exemplary service—because it’s demanded and expected of them.
I’ve spent my career looking at why and how organizations succeed in taking care of the customer and creating loyalty. I’d love the opportunity to deliver an entertaining and informative keynote and/or half-day session to help your organization focus on both your customers and employees in order to create loyalty and longevity.
“When it comes to singing the song of customer service, anyone can recite the words—but few can carry the tune. Let’s get together to create a customer service symphony.”
– Robert Spector