June 11, 2019
Customer Service: Your Path to Profits
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Customer service on any level is whatever the customer says it is. Sounds simple – but often not seriously considered by business owners. First, it requires owners to think like their customers and focus on providing solutions and not just service.
There are many events and activities required to deliver a product or service to customers. Ninety-five percent of them are “process-driven.” These are the administrative and logistical portions of the entire delivery chain of events. The remaining five percent is the actual delivery of the product or service.
Let me illustrate:
You have reservations at a restaurant for 7:45 PM. You arrive at 7:30 PM and are seated at a table next to the kitchen at 8:15 PM. The table has all the noise from the kitchen. The table cloth seems soiled. The service staff is slow with water drinks etc. Glasses don’t appear to be overly clean. You wait for an hour for the meal to arrive. The service staff continues to not be very attentive. However, the meal is one of the best you have ever eaten and prepared to perfection.
Do you walk away with the memory of a great dining experience because of the meal? Do you consider the experience was not so good because of all the non-meal related events and activities? I dare say it is the latter. However back in the kitchen, the chef is completely convinced he has met your needs with the preparation of a perfect meal
Providers think more about “product.” Customers think more about “process.” This puts the customer and provider on different wavelengths of understanding and appreciation about the product/service experience. The solution is for the provider to think like the customer and focus as much on process as the actual product or service.
This is a simple tenant of customer service too often overlooked. It is the cause of customer loss without knowledge by the provider. Actual studies show that 70% of the reason customers do not repeat with providers has to do with how they were treated in the process and the impression that providers don’t care about their cares and concerns. You only get one chance to make a good impression.
Technology is a major part of our customer service environment. This is a double edge sword. Technology can promote much efficiency and effectiveness in customer service. However, it must not be allowed to override the personal touch so essential to good customer service. It should be an enabler to help you provide efficient solutions to your customers with complete understanding and appreciation of the process so vital to customers. Carefully consider in all efforts to employ technology that the key to effective customer service is to think like your customers. Ensure the process that consumes 95% of the sequence of delivery events is focused on the expectations of the customer – either real or perceived. See the attached chart for a visual illustration.
Think of either the very best or worse buying experience you have ever had. In each case, were you pleased on displeased with the product/service or the delivery events and processes. You must bring that same level of concern to customer service in your business. This can be done by simply thinking like your customers and focus on the “process” as must or even more than the “product.” You will be favorably recognized for this direction, retain and increase customers and thereby improve profits.
Try it! It works!
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