WOW Word-Of-the-Week #296: Customer Service

April 3, 2010 by  

Customer Service – the series of activities before, during and after a purchase designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction.

How would you rate your customer service? How would your customers rate your service? Are you consistently focused on the before, during and after of your service?

Shep Hyken, author of “The Cult of the Customer” writes, “How much does it cost to deliver good customer service?”

Cult of the Customer

“The question should actually be how much does it cost to deliver bad customer service?  Bad customer service leads to low or no repeat business, no or poor word of mouth, morale issues inside the company and more.”

“There is a cost to delivering good service. Sometimes it does cost more to deliver value.  It also costs to train employees. Yet, usually the cost is far less than the cost of not providing a good and value-added experience for the reasons listed above.”

This LA Times editorial by Bruce Feldman of Santa Monica titled, “Customer service is in a sorry state” really resonated with me. He wrote, “The first thing to understand about customer service is that the term itself is a grave misnomer. Companies don’t serve customers, they handle them.”

“They have a series of policies and procedures. Discretion and common sense are not allowed. The sad reality is that so long as all airlines, banks and insurance companies offer the same shoddy by-the-book service, there is no incentive to switch to a competitor.”

I believe that average service is what most of us experience and have come to expect. And when we feel service is outstanding we are awed. Would you agree?

This week focus on the before, during and after of your service. Are you “serving” or “handling” your customers? Do you trust your staff to make decisions that truly “serve” your customers and designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction? What are you doing that sets you apart from your competition?

Reader Responses

“Great word for the week. As I drove into work this morning I was thinking about the two biggest problems in American society: carelessness and indifference. It seems those also are big failings in U.S. businesses today. Businesses are careless and indifferent in how they treat their customers. What has been forgotten in these tough economic times is that customers are the lifeblood of companies. Without customers and their dollars, those businesses do not exist. Yet, the businesses continue to treat customers poorly. Years ago I shopped for greeting cards at the same store in the town where I lived. It was a family-owned business. The store had a small coin-operated stamp machine that I used on a regular basis. By buying just the stamps that I needed, it saved me a trip to the local post office. One day I asked the mother of the owner if I could have four quarters for a dollar so that I could get stamps. She told me gruffly no, and to go buy my stamps at the post office. I did not get angry. I just quietly left the store and never bought cards there again. I told some of the people I knew the story, and they were surprised. Now, I had purchased cards at this story for a number of years. But it is this type of attitude that turns off customers and starts poor word of mouth. Eventually, the store closed. The key word today is service. We live in a time where serving others is really downplayed in the business world. It seems that serving others is the exception in business rather than the rule. Until it becomes the rule as opposed to the exception, many businesses will fail. In order to survive, we have to get back to inculcating the values of service into our employees. Hopefully, it will begin soon. Have a great week and a wonderful Easter, Susan. Thank you. Take care.” – Joe


One Response to “WOW Word-Of-the-Week #296: Customer Service”

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