Improving the Customer Experience

customer serviceI chuckle as I am writing this article, because in the next office I hear several members of our team rehashing the details of an absolutely horrible dining experience they had at a local restaurant. I will spare you all the lurid details, but suffice it to say that they (or any one else in our office for that matter) will NOT being going back there. It wasn’t because the food was bad or overpriced. It was because the service not only didn’t meet their expectations, but nothing was done to make it right.  ‘

Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong. – Donald Porter, V.P. British Airways

What amazes me is how many large companies are so amazingly bad at customer service. I can’t decide if there is a tipping point where the powers-at-be decide they don’t need good customer service due to the size of the organization, or if it’s just because their product or service wasn’t scalable in the first place. That being said, here are three easy ways to keep your company off of this list.

1. Over-Communicate the Situation.

I hope I am not the first one to break this to you, but your customers are not stupid. I mean, they did choose your company to do business with. You are the best at what you do, and they are spending their money for your good or service. Return the favor, and don’t keep them in the dark, especially as it relates to product or service issues and announcements. If you are planning a release or scheduled maintenance, send an email, post something to your website and social networks, and let your customers know exactly what is going on and why this is necessary.

This is even more pertinent in the event that something goes wrong. If you have an interruption in service or are unable to make a deadline, your primary responsibility is to offer abundant communication to your customers of the when, why, how, and most importantly steps being taken to resolve it.

2. Act Quickly, but Calmly.

Inevitably something will go wrong and it’s not always that you respond, but how. For starters, respond to customer service issues quickly. Responding quickly tells your customers that you are keenly aware of your own business and also minimizes the potential for your competition to take advantage of your situation. In some cases it may even be beneficial to have prepared service outage/technical difficulty messages ahead of time. One major benefit to this is you will be able to carefully select and review the language you use to make sure your message is received as calm and in control. Let’s face it, the last thing anyone wants to hear is the pilot come over the intercom and scream “Holy crap the plane is on fire and we’re all gonna die.” He acted quickly, but his notifications did little in the way of customer service.

3. Be Excellent at One Thing Before Doing Another.

This is one that I love! I am actually borrowing this idea from a great book I read a while back, but it’s something that I see so many organizations fall into the trap of. They try to grow their products or services before they really ever get good at what they were already doing. Before you know it they have built an entire company on a variety of unstable offerings and mildly dissatisfied customers. The catch 22 with this is that while they have grown their product line, they are incurring exponentially more customer service needs with each added product or service. By focusing your efforts on a few key areas and dominating your market for being the best at those, you will see your customer service needs virtually disappear.

I hope this article has helped you evaluate the way you look at customer service. Have some other easy ways companies could improve their customer service? We would love to here them in the comments below!

image credit: track training