August 31, 2011

Both Sides of Customer Service

Completing the Circle

It may be safe to say that I am among the vast majority of people who don’t like to go to the doctor or dentist. We scaredy cats would rather do just about anything to avoid it. Perhaps it's fear of pain or worry they will find something wrong.

After a couple of years, I went to the dentist this week. All the fretting and avoidance was for not. From the moment I walked through threshold of the office, I was greeted with a friendly face, sat in a nice waiting room, spent an hour with my hygienist who rocked and the dentist herself was kind and friendly. Despite wanting to have been just about anywhere else, the experience was enjoyable.

Managing Expectations

Our hope is to get good service when we buy something from a store or online portal. Sadly, the bar is low. So if it’s reasonably enjoyable or maybe even somewhat hassle free, we’re good. That is simply not acceptable. Yet we are customers and providers giving and taking, selling and buying all day long. Customer service is not a one-way experience. If you're not prepared to give great customer service, don't be surprised if your revenue line decreases.

Now you could argue that the guy behind the sandwich counter at lunch doesn’t need to be friendly when you have 20 minutes to keep the wolf from the door, but these things build up. We can’t turn on our good customer service for the things we deem important and do the minimum for the rest.

Beyond Skills

The dentist’s office doesn’t just clean and fix my teeth. The friendly competent nice people provide a safe place where a fully grown man can be a big baby for no concrete reason. And in this particular case, they seem to enjoy what they do. And that's the second part of providing great customer service.

The cliché that we're all in sales is not the whole story. Don’t sell me; show me why I should engage with you. And I won’t sell you; I will show you how I can enhance what you need. And floss daily!

What are your thoughts?

Kneale Mann
 
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