Customer Service -- I Beg Your Pardon!

Recently I didn’t have time to replace brake shoes in my old Buick Roadmaster (drum brakes) myself, so I decided to bring it to a car company who should according to the best market knowledge be able to deal with this simple challenge.

My wife drove the “Master of Road” from the mechanic and I saw the smoke coming out of rear wheels. So I jacked up the car myself and fixed it.

Although I made a complaint and had to listen to the car company CEO’s explanations, he still did send me an invoice! He lost a customer.

Customer service problem in a car mechanic case is a classic. Telecom providers, financial institutions, construction companies, etc. are very advanced in this discipline as well.

We all live in this real world and have made our experiences with mostly really lousy customer service, so I do not feel the need to start listing my favorite cases here.

The bad customer service correlates to a certain extend with the company size. Large companies have even delegated customer service to an outside firm, sometimes far away. Here is what happens: Customer service company delivers regularly according to the outsourcing agreement reports to the client company and everybody thinks that the end customer is happy. The illusion goes on and nobody even realizes that the customer is thinking about alternatives.

Good customer service is about:

  • Being responsive at all times
  • Listening and understanding what your customer wants
  • Deciding consciously that you want to meet the customer requirement
  • Delivering what the customer wants and when he wants, with no surprises and no strings attached
  • Listening to feedback and learning and changing

AND....leadership!

Leading by example and empowering the organization and employees to do things so customers feel great about your company.

I can only encourage SME leaders to visit customers together with your employees frequently.

When your employee seems no longer to be in position to know the answers or does not have the official authority, according to company process, in front of the customer, show him that decisions made in favor of good customer service are always good for the company. If this is done consistently and regularly employees will react in favor of the customer and in the mid and long term in favor of the company they work for.

Good processes can support this, but the main success factor is the SME leaders attitude towards customer service and their eagerness to show with examples.

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