Friday, 12 October 2012

The Value of Great Customer Service


Rose Bouquet I’ll start off by saying that I’m going to be kind here, because this story is to make a point, and not to point a finger.

I was out in the US a week or so ago and thought I had forgotten an important birthday.  A 92 year old’s birthday which by any measure has to be important.  So I went to one of my favourite online stores, spent £50 and ordered what though looked to be a very pretty flower arrangement, simple and modern, to be sent out.

What arrived, on time, was a puny little arrangement which no way looked the value of what had been spent (and this picture is not what I ordered, by the way).  So I did what I’m very good at.  I complained.

Now the company I ordered it from is famous throughout the land for offering excellent quality and service, which is why I had never had a qualm.  They offered me a £5 Voucher to make up for a) sending something out which did not look anything like the value that had been spent and b) making me look stupid in selecting it in the first place.

I complained again.  They offered me a £15 refund.  Me.  What was the point in that?  It was never about the money.  It was about giving something beautiful to someone who would enjoy it. I deleted the email in a state of……..er……….anger. 

Let’s get it absolutely straight, and I know that most know this already.  But it is sometimes amazing the ones that don’t.

Great customer service is about turning customers into loyal friends who say nice things about you.  In this day and age with viral marketing whether you’re naturally that way or not, you can’t afford to do otherwise.

Great customer service is about going the extra mile.  Doing more than the complaining customer expects so that they’ll shout about that to the world instead of what they were complaining about.

Great customer service is about being clever, taking advantage of a complaint to let the customer know that you really do care, you really are listening, and you’re really going to do something nice for them now.

Great customer service doesn’t pretend to themselves that the customer is always right.  Of course they’re not.  Anyone in retail or who has been in retail will tell you that.  But great customer service doesn’t let the customer go away thinking they’re not special, right, and important. 

Great customer service encourages the customer to come back, whatever has happened.

I’ve written yet another email, and we’ll see what happens, but what I’m interested in is what does great customer service mean to you?  Comments please…………………………..

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