I am sure many of us feel that customer care is dead and buried, as on a regular basis we share haunting experiences of many retailers, insurers, telecommunication firms and other service providers.
As a trainer my whole day revolves around my customers, commonly referred to in the training field as delegates. If I am ever asked by the organiser of the training ‘How do you think its going?’ my immediate reply is always ‘Ask the delegates’.
This probably sounds like a cop out, however I realised early in my training career that if the delegates aren’t getting it then I’m not doing my job properly.
As customers we have a relatively simple list of how we would like to be dealt with:
• To be listened to
• To be understood
• To be treated with respect
• To receive the goods or service we agreed to
• To feel we are in control of the situation
This really isn’t rocket science; however it’s easy to get things very wrong.
Many people are natural talkers and will often use this approach to bluff their way out of a situation. To some degree this can work, however it can be exhausting for the customer who feels they are not being taken seriously. It also makes them the listener which is not a good start!
Equally what chance is there of being understood when the person dealing with you is doing all the talking. Being a listener is often viewed as a passive role, however those who actively listen, gain a huge amount of knowledge and insight of how to deal with people and situations.
It’s the more subtle aspects of a conversation, the expressions of those around us, their slight changes in body language, intonation and use of language that can tell you how they really feel.
Being treated with respect sounds like an ‘old school’ approach, yet how often are we left feeling that a company’s representative is doing us a favour by doing their job.
Not receiving the right goods or service and having to complain can be for a host of reasons including being miss-sold to, human error, pure accident, poor quality, neglect or incompetence.
Studies have shown that how issues are initially dealt with will impact hugely on how we as customers will behave.
If handled well we become more loyal to the organisation than someone with no reason to complain at all, as we will have experienced how good their quality and service really is.
Handled badly and news travels fast with most of us telling between 15 & 20 other people. Reputations can be ruined very quickly!
I’m a great believer that behaviour breeds behaviour and by treating others well, you get the same in return. Show some respect and you in turn will be respected by others.
Finally most of us like to have a ‘perception’ we are in control; having choices and not feeling cornered goes a long way to keeping us satisfied.
So what’s my point?
Where does ‘The Ghost of Customer Service’ come into all this?
At Four Steps Training we want to resurrect the service industry and turn it back into a living and breathing entity.
To do this, we have developed a series of 1 and 2 day programmes that focus on ‘how’ to provide ‘Exceptional Customer Service’. We equip delegates with subtle tools and techniques that allow them to satisfy and exceed customers’ expectations whilst maintaining the needs and reputation of their organisation.
What stories do you have on how to exorcise this spectre?
We’d love to hear about them.