Posts Tagged ‘Customer Service’

Sometimes, your organization will be tempted (or forced) to offer some of your customers less than they’ve received in the past. Perhaps you need to close a local store so you can afford to open a better one a few miles away. Or reroute a bus line to serve more customers, while inconveniencing a few. Or maybe you want to replace a perfectly good free mapping application with a new, defective one so you can score points against your hometown rival in your bid for mobile domination.

A few things to keep in mind:

1. When possible, don’t downgrade. People are way more focused on what you take away than what you give them. Many times, particularly with software, it’s pretty easy to support old (apparently useless) features that a few rabid (equals profitable, loyal and loud) customers really depend on.

2. When it’s not possible to avoid a downgrade, provide a bridge or alternatives, and mark them clearly and discount them heavily. In the case of Apple maps on the new iphone, it would have been really easy to include links or even pre-installed apps for other mapping software. It’s sort of silly to make the Lightning adapter a profit center. When you cancel the all you can eat buffet, be generous with the gift cards given to your best customers.

3. If you can’t build a bridge, own up. Make it clear, and apologize. Not after an outcry, but before it even happens. The genius Francois at the Grand Central Apple store insisted that my hassles with the Music Match feature in iTunes were merely my “opinion,” and all the steps I had to go through to move the audio books I’m reviewing from one device to another were in fact good things. It’s silly to expect your customers to care about your corporate priorities or to enjoy your corporate-speak. If you’ve taken something away from them, point it out, admit it and try to earn a chance to delight them again tomorrow.

Apologizing to your best users is significantly more productive than blaming them for liking what you used to do.

Seth Godin

Wildeyeq

Most times we all believe we know what good customer service is, and therein is the first mistake we all make: WE BELIEVE. Sincerely how many times do we ask ourselves what customers really want,how many times do we even try to get off our high horse of believing that since we own the product,then we should know how the customer wants it served on him? While listening to Matthew Dixon,managing director of the Corporate Executive Board’s Sales and Service Practice speak on “Why Delighting your customers is Overrated” I discovered some key truths. We have become ingrained with the belief that what customers need is personalized service,but as anyone who has ever called Starcomms customer service know,that can be quite a disaster. Recently,research has shown that most customers are jumping on the self service band wagon. Why you ask? Well it seems that most customers have seen personalized customer service for what it really is; a very annoying attempt to give them what you think they need without giving them the thrill of solving their own problems on their own.

More and more customers nowadays prefer to go on a company’s website or call a robot rather than have a call center personnel attend to their needs,like some of the customers I asked,most times you are just made to repeat yourself over and over again without anything done to solve your problem at the end of the day. Also,as some of us might have experienced with some telecomms operators’ call centers,you don’t have to deal with the bad attitude of the call center personnel. In Nigeria,the culturally ingrained expectation of wanting to deal with the “topman” has made a lot of execs waste a lot of their time and made customers accept things they would not normally have accepted.One thing is clear about customers when they want a problem solved,they don’t really want to talk to you. They want their needs met. They don’t care if you are the CEO or a messenger in the organization,they just want someone who would help them solve their problems.

Below I have listed some things that from my own experience of dealing with customers and being one,are very important when you are considering areas to improve on your customer service experience.

  • Do not treat customers in a generic fashion,treat each one like a distinct individual. That’s who they are.
  • When dealing with a customer,do not try to deal with their emotions,just deal with helping the customer to get a prompt efficient service,no small talk or trying to make the customer your friend.
  • Try to eliminate negative words from your interactions with customers.Words like We can’t,We don’t,No,Do not,You Can’t, must leave your vocabulary at that time.What you want to build is an atmosphere where customers think they can be all they want to be. They want your customer service to make them feel empowered and positively charged enough that the chances of them being disloyal to your brand or product is drastically reduced.
  • Listen to what they are feeling,if you try to understand their words alone,you might not get the real gist of their grievance.
  • Younger demographics are actually more prone to go for an automated self service option rather than deal with a customer care personnel. This is just because they feel that people “just don’t understand”. So if they are a major part of your target market,then you need to work on making your customer service approach to them appear very “cool”.
  • Most times your effort to delight your customers or to wow them actually have adverse effects,if you exceed customer expectations too much,they tend to feel as if you are actually cheating them of something or they just might become suspicious of your motives.
  • Good customer service is not always about what you think customer expectations are,it is mostly by being perceptive enough to know what those expectations might be.