Customer service is an interesting thing. For us it fits into the category of quality. Almost every time we ask a business owner what sets them and their company apart from their competition, they will tell us it is their quality and customer service.
I often laugh and say of course I would expect them to say that, and would hope that they wouldn’t tell me they provide crappy products and couldn’t care less about their customers. So, if everyone is providing such great customer service, then why is it you hear some incredible stories of bad customer service. The simple answer is…customer service is in the eye of the customer, not in the eye of the provider. In other words, you can think you are doing an incredible job but there will be times when you aren’t.
Customer can be placed into three categories when it comes to customer satisfaction. We all know of those customers who have left mad or upset. We chalk them up to things like; “they are never happy”, “they are being unreasonable”, “we don’t need them anyway”, etc. They have been so unhappy, for whatever reason, they are not likely to return.
The second category is the ones who are thrilled with what we do. They simply love us and even when things happen, they likely give us the benefit of the doubt. These are our easy customers.
The third group is what we call the indifferent customer. They are neither ones who are really unhappy, nor are they the ones who love us. Truth be told, in most businesses, this category makes up about 80% of current customers. They are happy enough to keep coming back, yet if something else came along they perceived to be better (even if it wasn’t), they would give it a try and in switching, could leave.
So what is the answer? I believe it simply comes down to two things…don’t let your customers think and then surprise them. I know this probably sounds a little strange, but here is an example. Why don’t people like having their car serviced? Sure, you can say it is the cost, but most people recognize at some point in owning a car, they are going to have to pay. I believe it requires people to think because it pulls them out of their routine. They must coordinate getting all their errands done, dropping off children, getting to and from work, and everything else. It is a pain and in the end, they could care less about whether the mechanic put in this part or that one. They want to know when the inconvenience is going to end.
The level of customer satisfaction in this situation comes down to have you minimized the time I am inconvenienced. In other words, if I know you will have my car for a couple of hours, then I can accept that, but if suddenly you have it over night, now I have to think and it will annoy me. If I think you have one type of payment and then you don’t, again I must think. On the other hand, if I thought I had to make the time to go down and pick up my car and suddenly it was dropped off, then this would be a surprise and would likely push me into the category of thrill customer.
Look at the services you provide. Minimize the times you make people think and build in the surprise and you will find you will have customers who love you.