It’s easy to think all customer service is bad.
Bad News Stories
But this rationale is just like thinking all news is bad. Statistically, the news media reports an overwhelmingly higher number of bad news stories relative to the number of good news stories. That doesn’t mean there is more bad news than good; it just means they report more bad news than good.
The same is true for customer service. We remember and re-tell bad customer service experiences overwhelmingly more than those of good customer service. But it doesn’t mean there is more bad customer service than good.
I’m focusing on customer service today because I need the customer service level in my business to get better.
It’s not that it’s bad, but it needs to get better. I’m sure we have more good customer service experiences than bad, but now that I’m paying attention to it, the bad experiences become more obvious. And if they are obvious to me, they are obvious to our clients.
I work in a world where customer service is not a core focus. We are not retail where we greet customers hundreds of times each day. We are designers, and more often than not we go out to meet our customers than have them come to our office. Hence, we don’t get to practice customer service on a regular basis.
And, we interact with government agencies where, although they all try hard, they have no real appreciation or desire for customer service.
Why should governments strive for good customer service? It’s not like you can take your business elsewhere. If you want to work in a certain city, the government agencies are the only ones that can approve plats, give building permits, and accept your tax dollars. If you do not like a city or county’s customer service, your only choice is to go to a different city, county or state.
Which is precisely why I want my company’s customer service to get better. My competition and client base does not get to regularly experience good customer service. If we provide great customer service, we will stand out from our competition.
And, the secret to success in business is to stand out (see anything by Seth Godin).
There are lots of ways to stand out and become remarkable. In my business, one way is to provide great customer service.
My clients and potential clients are inundated with bad customer service. Government agencies, design firms, and construction companies are not typically known for outstanding customer service. The are not expected to be and do not get the chance to practice and perfect customer service on a regular basis.
Our Plan to Stand Out
So, in my business world, having great customer service will set us apart.
And how we plan to do that is:
- Set expectations early. Every project management meeting needs to discuss customer service.
- Foster a culture of customer service by talking about it, recognizing it, training for it, and promoting it.
- Define when and where customer service is expected. Of course, it is always necessary, but at certain points of each project cycle we need to focus on customer service opportunities.
- Collaboratively brainstorm unique ways to display great customer service. Our world is constantly evolving, and we always need to be on the lookout for new and helpful ways to provide the service we sell.
Matthew 7:12 says.
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
This is a well-used verse that has many applications. It is especially valuable in thinking about customer service. It says exactly what we want of customer service. Let’s treat our customers in the same outstanding way that we like to be treated. And it is not only applicable in my business world, but in yours as well.
Following the guidance of Matthew, we can see that customer service is really quite simple after all.