May 8, 2011

The Lost Art of Customer Service

The Foundation of Business

Recently, I was chatting with some friends about their recent road trip. All went well but they did share a couple of interesting stories. One was from a bad experience while trying to grab a quick bite to eat. It was one of those experiences where you feel you're more of an annoyance than a customer. “Someone deserved a four cent tip”, my friend exclaimed. The rest of the group nodded and began sharing bad service stories. Bad service ruins your experience and you wonder why you are the victim of their bad day.

Bad Service is Everywhere

We all want great service. But we are still surprised when we get it. If “four cent tip” guy got the service my friends received, he would be incensed. But he’s having a bad day, a rough shift, his boss is a tyrant, his feet hurt or a wide range of possible explanations that don’t and shouldn’t concern customers. Companies miss an opportunity when they ask us to follow them on Twitter only to find out there is nothing in it for us. Or they request we "like" them on Facebook only to find the same.

Now flip this around and look at your internal stakeholders. We all have a bad day, we all make mistakes but imagine for a moment that whiny waiter dude was your communications department and don’t wannabe there coffee shop woman was running your sales department while get it done faster cheaper guy was your boss.

Good Service: Tell a Friend. 
Bad Service: Tell All Your Friends.

One bad customer experience can dismantle thousands, even millions of dollars in marketing investment. To my friends, the grumpy server is now attached to the name of the restaurant. They had a bad brand experience.

Envision spending the next three months simply working on improving service inside your organization. That’s the stuff that happens between each person in your building. Any one of your stakeholders may be the only person a customer may ever meet. And this is true in all industries.

The creation of strong internal and external customer service is far more valuable than a well crafted advertising campaign. 

Kneale Mann

image credit: shoply
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