What a strange day I had…
A few days ago my father told me an interesting story which become an interesting customer service case study for me.
So, first, my father’s car broke down. It became very slow and heavy, and – no matter how hard he pressed the acceleration pedal – it just didn’t seem to speed up as it used to. He had to have it repaired.
As, like most people, he values quality over price especially when it comes to services, he doesn’t usually choose cheap. So he took his beloved car to one of the better (and, as you could imagine, more expensive) garages in the town. It is famous primarily for the quality of their work. But the customer service provided by the garage highly disappointed him. Why? Even though there were many staffers apparently very busy with their duties, no one showed him where to park his car, no one approached him and when he entered the office a young lady at the desk seemed too busy to spare a second to. What do you think he did? He went back to the car and left the garage, of course.
As he was driving back home, he called a friend who gave him an address of a very small garage run by three young blokes. He didn’t say much more than ‘you won’t regret it’. And my father didn’t. He said it was one of the most remarkable customer service experiences in his life. Even though the garage didn’t have a separate lounge or even employ any staff other than the three mechanics (no blonde secretary at the desk), all of them wearing dirty mechanic clothes, my father received a warm welcome as soon as he opened the door. One of them promised him they would take care of his car in less than half an hour (he kept the promise), and another gave him a chair to sit and offered something to drink. The car was fixed within an hour and afterwards they even replaced a burnt bulb in the tail light.
So, what’s my point? Here it is.
Customers don’t usually understand quality. Most often they have no tools to measure the quality of the goods/services you provide – all they know is the experience that surrounds the sale.
Even today my father can’t judge the quality of the repair. It would take a trained mechanic to tell if it really was a “quality” job. But, like most people, my father let his experience to form his opinion about quality. And he found it remarkable enough to tell other people about it.
Insisting your goods or services are the best doesn’t mean much when the experience isn’t excellent – without great customer service.
Customers consciously or unconsciously expect you to manage their experience. And great customer service anticipates concerns, confusion, questions and even anxiety.
Remarkable customer service must plan the experience and guide it every step of the way.
And what does it look like in reality? In most companies customer service positions are among the least respected and lowest paid jobs. There shouldn’t be anything more important (even your current operations or unexpected tasks) than serving customers and creating great experiences. The employees working in customer service either enforce or weaken your brand every time they talk to a client. Doesn’t it seem sensible that the employees who are serving your customers should be your most experienced, most engaged and well-compensated people?
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