What’s your worst experience of customer service? I’d be interested to hear of your experiences.
I’m sorry to say that mine was at the hands of Tesco – three times in a fortnight and, although my experience was over 10 years ago, it’s caused me to not enter a Tesco Supermarket since. I’m sure that many of their staff do a fantastic job but sadly, I have such a strong somatic marker when considering my buying choices that it causes my emotions to override any rational thinking. I just cannot walk into one of their stores without feeling really angry at my experience, as if it happened yesterday.
So many companies are struggling to stand out in increasingly competitive markets and are going to have to work even harder to retain their existing customers let alone find new ones in the coming months. Delivering exceptional customer service is what truly makes a difference to generate raving fans who will be very reticent to leave you if you truly listen to them, treat them like human beings and fulfil their needs.
My best customer experience ever has been with apple. Whilst I’m not an apple brand addict, the response to returning a product (some Beats headphones) that were just out of guarantee and not working, was flawless. A warm and friendly customer service manager responded to my call promptly (within 3 rings – almost unheard of!), listened to my problem, clearly told me exactly what she was going to do to solve it and gave me a timescale by which it would be resolved. A man arrived with a bag to pick up the old Beats to see if they could be repaired within 24 hours of my call and the following day, a new pair were delivered. No hassle, no quibbles – just service with a smile and a ‘thank-you for your custom.’
I found this short film on You Tube which throws up some interesting statistics on buyer behaviour in relation to the Customer Experience (and bear in mind this film is 5 years old – the stats will be even more striking now). It reminded me to share an acronym, BLAST, that has served many of my service industry clients well when faced with a customer complaint:
Five steps that, if implemented rigorously and regularly can turn disgruntled customers into raving fans.
After a challenging 2020 where so many companies have had to pivot and really fight for their share of the market place, might it be worth reviewing and overhauling both your customer service and your staff retention strategies to ensure that you are retaining and training all of your people to deliver superb service to every client? As Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos says:
“Customer service shouldn’t be a department; it should be an entire company.”
Lily Newman – December 2020