“We do not have the time, nor would we want to, answer every question that [our customers] have.”
That’s exactly what someone said to me recently when speaking about how to handle a customer request. Sure, customers/clients/patients are often needy. They ask for extras, exceptions, hand-holding and discounts. They want what they want and it rarely follows a “Customer Service Handbook” protocol. Their unpredictable needs make it hard for a business to stay efficient.
Efficiency is something that most companies strive for. How can we deliver a good product while using the least amount of time, manpower and resources as possible so that we can continue to grow?
The problem with this type of thinking is that the focus the bottom line of the company itself. And people don’t care about a company’s bottom line–they care about what that company is going to do to improve their lives.
There are plenty of options today. I can order shoes from thousands of sites online. I can have a website developed by any number of companies. I can buy my dog’s absurdly expensive organic, HMO-free, grain-free dog food from just about any store that carries dog food.
What keeps me coming back to certain companies and brands is the high-level, positive experience and interactions I have them. Think about the best and worst customer service experiences you’ve had–chances are, you can start to see a pattern in the companies you deem the best and the worst.
Were you able to answer my question quickly while respecting my time or did you keep me on the phone for 30 minutes? Did you go out of your way to do something above and beyond to correct a mistake or did you deny it was your issue and state your policy? Did you acknowledge me on social media when I posted something positive about your brand? Did you treat me like a person or a number? Did you solve my problem?
Standard is everywhere. Today, to be a truly remarkable business, companies have to focus on becoming more than an efficient, well-oiled machine, they have to put extra focus on the customer and the experience they have when interacting with the company. Sometimes, that means answering every question, making yourself available, spending more time and manpower, giving your employees autonomy to solve issues based on incident not protocol or stopping to correct a problem even if the consumers may not even realize it’s a problem in the first place. Sometimes, great customer service means a little bit of inefficiency.