Electric Service: Avoiding “Bad” Connections


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Did you ever wonder why electricians refer to an ineffective electrical connection as a “bad” connection, like it was misbehaving and in need of punishment? It is how many service providers view disappointed customers—not as someone who has experienced a failed service connection, but as the perpetrator of a “bad” connection. As long as the customer with a beef is viewed as “bad” rather than “injured,” the more efforts to right the customer connection will simply short-circuit. There are many features of electric service that match customer service.

Great service comes from a solid grounding—allegiance to insuring the service offering is laced with quality. We enjoy ballyhooing the glitz and charm of a great service experience. And clearly a positively memorable experience is a vital part of how customers today define value. But unless there is a quality outcome—what the customer came for in the first place—all decorations are forgotten. If my flight lands four hours late, it erases otherwise fond memores of the great food, pleasant flight attendant, or comfy seat. Before you take on adding the extras, take care managing the basics.

Great service requires proper insulation—protecting the customer’s experience from bureaucratic processes. We live in an era of emotional clutter. Customers are often overwhelmed by the effort it requires to get what they need. Having a problem with Google? Try reaching a person! Need a clarification of something on your utility bill or bank statement, notice the steps involved in getting a simple answer. Customers view weak service and difficult service today as indifferent service. Being easy to do business with includes insulting customers from emotional clutter.

But most importantly, great service takes a valued connection—a link with understanding, relevance and a strong desire to serve. Whether your business is B2C or B2B, it all comes down to P2P—people to people. Take the high touch out of high tech service and you quickly render the encounter functional, sterile and ultimately forgotten. Research continually shows that organizations without an emotional connection to customers quickly lose share of market, become commoditized and compete on price, and are often overtaken by competitors that have assertive advocates.

Chip Bell
Chip R. Bell is the founder of the Chip Bell Group (chipbell.com) and a renowned keynote speaker and customer loyalty consultant. Dr. Bell has authored several best-selling books including The 9 1/2 Principles of Innovative Service and, with John Patterson, Take Their Breath Away. His newest book, Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service, will be released in February.


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