Where Did the Good Customer Service Go?!


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When did delivering good customer service become so uncool?

Has it really been that long since the customer was always right, since orders were received with a smile (even on the web), and since company screw-ups were dealt with promptly and with class?

Now, anytime we can talk to a real person instead of an obnoxious recording, it’s considered a miracle. Or, if the cable guy tells us he’ll be there from 10 to 2, instead of from 10 to 4, we consider ourselves lucky. Or, when we actually get our money back under a money-back guarantee, we give thanks to the heavens.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m pining for the good ol’ days when I walked uphill both ways in the snow to do my shopping. But, seriously, when did delivering good customer service become so uncool?

More importantly, how can you avoid the type of mistakes that prevent good customer service, so you don’t have people shouting your small business’ name in vain? Knowing what makes good customer service is key to ensuring that bad service experiences don’t happen.

Good customer service means seeing things from each customer’s perspective

Instead of bemoaning your own bottom line and the inconveniences you’re dealing with on your own end, take some time to walk a mile in your customer’s shoes. Thanks to the worldwide web, they have (literally!) a million places to spend their hard-earned money, so give them a reason to choose you.

From start to finish, everything should be easy and enjoyable for each of your customers. If it’s not, people are going to head elsewhere. And, if you think about it rationally, can you blame them?

Good customer service is completely honest

It really IS the best policy! Effective and efficient communication is central to good customer service experiences. Communication is vital to every relationship and the relationships with your customers are no different. So, if your supplier stood you up, and it’s going to take a little longer to make your deliveries, just say so. Or, if your best cake decorator is out for whatever reason, and you’re working round-the-clock to compensate for it, explain the situation up front. It’s far better than making up a story that no one is going to believe anyways!

Just don’t confuse honest communication with making excuses. Good customer service knows that excuses don’t really mean that service has happened. Customers hate excuses almost as much as they hate bad corporate attitudes!

Good customer service cleans up the mess

Good customer service is focused on solutions to problems, not the reasons why problems happened. No matter how hard you try to run the perfect company, mistakes are going to happen. So, instead of trying to place blame, spend your time and energy looking for solutions. Customer don’t care who’s fault it is, only that something will be done about it.

Good customer service knows never to blame. If your customer was wrong, let it go. It’s not worth losing their business (and risk a bunch of bad word-of-mouth advertising) to get into the “blame game”.

If you were wrong, apologize and do whatever you can to make up for it. A reasonable customer will understand that you’re not perfect. What really matters is how you deal with the aftermath. If you can follow up a mistake with a “mea culpa” and a way to make things all good, your customers will remember and appreciate it!

Join the customer service revolution

Luckily, we join others who know what makes good customer service and define good customer service according to how we want our customers to remember working with our organizations.

As leaders we can focus on hiring those with good customer service skills, and enable them with good customer service tips, inspire them with good customer service stories, and frequently remind them of our mission with quotes about good customer service.

By frequently and consistently sharing, discussing, and demonstrating what is good customer service we can make a difference in the type of customer service experiences customers will have.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Flavio Martins
Flavio Martins is the VP of Operations and Customer Support at DigiCert, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise authentication services and high-assurance SSL certificates trusted by thousands of government, education, and Fortune 500 organizations. Flavio is an award-winning customer service blogger, customer service fanatic, and on a mission to show that organizations can use customer experience as a competitive advantage win customer loyalty. Blog: Win the Customer!


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