Have you noticed the unlimited amount of information regarding customer service found on the internet, through books, seminars, video and every other means you can imagine? In addition, there is a common belief that advancements in today’s technology have created a consumer-centric world where customer service alone has the ability to make or break an organization. We also live in a world where the success or failure of any business is dependent upon its ability to be efficient or do more with less.
Recently, I’ve had several experiences that have caused me to question if these two belief systems contradict each other. And wonder… is it possible to mesh the above concepts in order to create a synergistically beneficial relationship for both the consumer and business?
I believe that in order for businesses to truly succeed, exceptional customer service must encompass efficiency. Below are 5 tips on how to achieve both. First, for context, here is one of the experiences mentioned above.
The morning following a night of complaining about a sore throat, I brought my 9 year old daughter to an urgent care clinic. Even though we arrived 5 minutes before the clinic opened, we waited for over 2 hours to be seen by a doctor. The doctor spent less than 2 minutes in the room with us. Shortly after leaving, my daughter’s symptoms became much worse and we brought her to a different clinic where we learned the diagnosis from the first doctor was incorrect.
After responding to the clinic’s email request for feedback, I received a call to address my concerns. The response I received was several reasons why the doctor was so good and that the clinic was busier than usual so they weren’t prepared. In summary, all I heard was excuses to justify the less than satisfactory experience I had coupled with statements designed to discredit my feelings.
Interesting, most of the unsatisfactory experiences I have, despite the actual business or industry, are both related and could have been minimized if not prevented.
Here are 5 tips that will help you improve customer relationships and increase customer loyalty.
- Plan appropriately. Customers (patients or clients) in this day and age don’t wait for anybody. Make sure that your team is staffed to meet changes in production needs.
- Acknowledge feelings. Customers have the right to have feelings. This doesn’t mean that they are always right (anyone with experience in the business world know that this is not true). Listening to the perspective of a customer and ensuring he or she feels heard will go a long way in building loyalty, even if the customer doesn’t get his or her own way.
- Be efficient but not at the cost of being ineffective. In order to be profitable, it is imperative that a business must be efficient. However, this efficiency must be balanced with quality and care.
- Be honest. Customers are people and most are not looking for perfection. It is amazing how easily and quickly most people are willing to forgive as long transparency and actions to correct mistakes exist.
- Measure and reassess changes in customer service process. Implementing process changes to reduce customer dissatisfaction and handling customer complaints is not enough to truly transform your organization.
The most critical step is the monitoring and evaluation of the process. This requires rigorous brand reputation management. Without proper reputation management, organizations run the risk of ruining their brand with a single situation going viral; one that could have been prevented.
Depending on the specific needs of a business, many times it is recommended to have an outside agency manage a brands reputation in order to ensure the existence of an unbiased perspective that will help to resolve even the most explosive situations with a win/win solution.
If you have questions about reputation management or are not sure how your business compares with your competitors, contact DirectiveGroup. We are always here to help your business succeed and grow.