Even the best companies I work with as a customer service consultant have blind spots that I discover, areas within the customer experience that urgently need attention. Here are six such areas where you may be sabotaging your own best customer service and customer experience efforts.
1. Have you overlooked the the two most important customer service moments as far as a customer’s memory is concerned–the beginning and the end of their interaction with you? Of these two, the end point is the most overlooked; here’s a recent article of mine that discusses this.) Also: be sure you realize that “the beginning starts before the beginning”—that customers are picking up info and implications about you before they ever arrive at your official website or the front door of your establishment.
2. Do you neglect to reinforce your customer excellence standards daily? The very best organizations talk about the importance of customer service every single day, every single shift. The Ritz-Carlton has been doing this since the 1980’s and they don’t miss a single shift: They talk about their service standards and share “wow stories” (such as the time Ritz-Carlton rescued Thomas The Tank Engine for a diminutive guest) to keep the troops inspired and on the same customer service excellence page.
3. Do you fall apart when things to wrong? It’s crucial that you have a world-class customer service recovery process in place for when things go south. It doesn’t work to wing it every time a customer is irritated, frustrated, or flat-out furious. No matter how superb your product or service is, every company needs a service recovery process with the goal of restoring (or even enhancing) customer satisfaction, as well as reducing the possibility of a recurrence.
4. Do you deliver on a timetable that fails to match what your customer wants and/or expects? Remember: a perfect product, or perfect customer service, delivered late, is a defect. Being late or misleading about timetables, being insensitive to the timing issues and pacing preferences and expectations of your customers, is problematic. Great institutions are doing everything possible these days to adjust themselves to the customer’s perception of time: this includes self-service options for project tracking (for example, USAA Insurance allows you to see the progress of your insurance claim online, 24/7), flexibility on delivery times, guaranteed times for menu items in fast casual restaurants, and more.
5. Do you fail to make the effort to see (and taste, and feel, and even smell) your company the way your customers do? You need to park where the customers park, enter in via the same entrance your customers use, call in on the same phone lines and use the same retail website and perhaps laborious login routine you make your customers go through. You learn a lot this way. If you use reserved parking and the employee entrance and your intranet, or–worse–spend the day holed up in your office, you won’t. You’ll, tragically, find out about your company’s problems on Yelp rather than from your own eyes.
6. Do you hire by hunch, and fire by fiat? The reality is that not everyone is cut out to work face to face (or phone to phone, or terminal to terminal) with employees. For success with customers, hiring needs to be a scientific process. Hiring on a hunch is deadly, and — quite often — discriminatory. So: Hire to a profile, study your results, revise your profile, and keep at it. (For a shortcut to get you started, use my acronym WETCO as your rule of thumb for the five traits most crucial in employees with frequent customer contact: Warmth, Empathy, Teamwork, Conscientiousness, and Optimism. ) [I discuss customer service hiring, and the details of WETCO, here. ]
This article was written by Micah Solomon from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.