Blogs

Jo Geraghty

Director

Customer service

Date added: 17th Dec 2014
Category: Customer Experience

The secret to good customer care is remembering that customers are people and acting accordingly.

Business is all about relationships.  Phrases such as ‘people buy from people’ and ‘be the type of person you want to meet’ roll glibly off the tongue but somehow by the time marketing and sales and  lawyers and accountants and trainers and everyone else have had a stir the business/customer relationship can look like a hodgepodge of conflicting wants.  So much so that whilst one part of the organisation is preaching openness and customer care, others could well be targeting staff to make sales or cutting down on quality checks in products.

Before you know it, customer feedback is looking rather poor and ‘task forces’ are called in to try and work out what went wrong.  Cue focus groups, endless meetings and lots of extra time spent in gathering statistics.  But businesses which genuinely put customer care at the heart of the organisation don’t have any such problems. For them, customer care runs throughout the organisation with everyone and every process being geared up to creating exceptional customer experiences.

For these businesses, the secret of good customer care is not in some theoretical model, nor is it simply copying the ‘latest fad’ from across the pond.   The secret is remembering that customers are people and acting accordingly.  And when it comes to people, sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.  When we talk about recovering from mistakes, saying sorry is the first step; when we talk about engaging employees, saying thanks can go a long way; and when we talk about customer service, simply keeping the customer informed can make all the difference.

One of our colleagues observed this at first hand recently when they had solar panels installed.  Previous experiences with the vagaries of those in the building/construction industry had left them a little wary but the experience proved to be extremely positive from start to finish.  From first quote to installation, employees turned up exactly on time and were polite and respectful of the home and its surroundings.  So far so good but what impressed our colleague more was that fact that at every stage they were told the names and contact details of the people who were taking the installation on to the next stage.

Sounds almost too simple a recipe for success doesn’t it?  But being introduced to ‘Joe’ who would be overseeing the installation or being told that ‘Paul’ would be arriving on site at x time turned an impersonal transaction into a positive experience.  It was no surprise therefore that just after the installation had been completed the firm, Sungift Solar, were awarded the accolade of “Solar Panel Installer Of The Year 2014” to add to their numerous other awards.

We’ve written before about ‘The Golden Rule’ which states that you should treat others as you would want to be treated.  Customer service excellence is doing just that; creating products which customers need at a price they can afford and then delivering them with care, courtesy and an attention to detail.  Everything else flows from this one point.

  • Satisfied customers return time and time again, they recommend the business to their friends and they provide great feedback on social media.
  • Employees naturally become strongly engaged in the aims and values of the business as they build relationships with happy customers and take pride in their work.
  • The business grows organically from recommendations, the amount of profit which has to be set aside against complaints is low and investors become more likely to add their support.

Business is all about relationships and if more businesses paid attention to that one simple fact then we would all (businesses, employees and customers) be able to look forward to a mutually rewarding 2015.

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