Consistent Customer Care Keeps 'Em Coming Back
Consistent Customer Care Keeps 'Em Coming Back
Among the most important aspects of the operation of your business is your commitment to customer care. Indeed, it represents the public face of your business. Employees in your customer service department are not the only members of your team who should be expected to provide excellent customer care. Everyone who comes in contact with customers, including sales associates, receptionists and service providers should be well-versed in providing a high degree of care to customers. The quality of that customer care speaks volumes about your level of respect for those who patronize your business. In fact, quality customer care not only ensures that your clientele is happy with their experience today, but it will make it more likely that they’ll return again - and recommend you to others. That’s why it’s crucial that your customer service hits the right notes:
- Listens carefully to customer’s issue
- Tries to understand customer’s’ point of view, concern or problem
- Takes thorough personal action or
- Escalates the issue to someone with more knowledge or influence
- Resolves the issue, or
- Provides further resources on which the customer can follow up
And what’s even more important than training a customer care representative to be responsive on those points? Training ALL of your customer care representatives to do the same. Consistency is key in providing the best customer care experience. When customer care is inconsistent, a couple of unfortunate scenarios can occur:
- A customer will have a great customer care experience in one situation; then, on another occasion with another representative, be less than satisfied. This customer is likely not to return, thinking that the customer care of the entire business is declining.
- A customer will, on their first experience with a customer care representative, encounter one who provides poor service, rather than the one who has been trained to provide better service. This customer is likely not to return either, since their one and only experience with customer care was unsatisfactory.
In either scenario, your business loses more than just a customer. It loses anyone a satisfied customer would have referred as well. Better that customers encounter representatives who are on the same page with regard to serving their needs. It’s incumbent upon management to determine and detail the elements that make up the business’ brand of customer care. It should address the general attitude of employees toward customers as well as the lengths in actions that should be taken on behalf of customers. When customers know that their needs are being met competently and with an eye toward resolution, they will be highly satisfied with the care they receive.
By way of illustration, I present the following account of my recent visit to a home improvement store. Here’s my experience encountering inconsistent customer service that day:
My weed trimmer’s string line had been replaced by a blade style head several years ago. The blades had broken and I wanted to replace it with a new string line. I could not, however, remove a part of the blade head from the trimmer. So I carried the whole head of my weed trimmer into the store to ask for assistance in removing the part and selecting the appropriate new string line for my particular model.
I approached the first employee I encountered and asked for his assistance. I explained the problem and handed the trimmer to him. He said, “It should just come off like this…” but was unable to loosen the piece. He handed it back to me, shaking his head and claiming he didn’t know what could be done. I asked if there was anyone else who might be able to help me, to which he replied, “I think I’m the only one in this department right now.” Determined that my trip not be for naught, I asked him where I could find a lavender plant. “Up at the front,” he replied, gesturing vaguely toward the entrance.
While heading “up front” to find my own lavender plant, I happened upon another employee; his name tag said “Earl.” I caught Earl’s attention and asked if there was anything he could do about my trimmer’s stuck part. He took the trimmer from me and told me, “Follow me.” We walked back to a warehouse area, where he told me to, “Please wait here, Ma’am.” He proceeded down another aisle to a large tool chest, where he utilized various implements to remove the part. Then he led me to the aisle where new string line was displayed. He looked high and low for over 10 minutes for the right string for my trimmer, even opening several packages to see if they would fit. By the end of all that time, it was determined that they didn’t carry the one for my model. Earl said he was very sorry.
Since he seemed to be a helpful sort, I asked if he could show me precisely where the lavender plants were on display. Just then, the first associate passed by and asked if I’d found the lavender. Together, the two walked with me to locate my plant.
What this customer learned that day is that the home improvement store’s inconsistent customer care was terribly frustrating. It left me wondering why the first associate hadn’t gone to greater lengths to help me. Where I felt like an imposition when dealing with the first employee, it seemed the second I encountered couldn’t do enough for me. My takeaway is that I will shop elsewhere in order to find customer care that makes me feel valued as a customer - every time I shop. I know I’m not alone in that feeling in the marketplace.
Your client-facing employees can make or break your business’ customer care reputation. Make certain they are all trained consistently to put your business’ best foot forward in every interaction.
Do your employees provide consistent customer care?
Click Here to read the Archives of Blitstein's Articles