I’ve been reading ‘Positively Outrageous Service‘ for the last few days and every time I read a few pages, it leaves me feeling angry.
Well, the book is all about offering the best in customer service. It’s a great book – a business classic which offers great advice. It’s highly practical and presents plenty of examples and case studies for innovative thinking about delivering a great customer experience.
So why am I left feeling angry?
This is largely because of my recent experiences with customer service representatives. Not merely poor customer service, but a thoroughly uncaring and rule-bound experience.
When did you last hear a customer services rep for a large company say “I shouldn’t really do this, but you’re a valued customer of ours, so…” I’ll bet it’s been a while. And, sadly, many smaller companies are following suit.
You’re much more likely to hear “our policy is…” or to be referred to the fine-print these days.
“Customer Services” has become a swear word and it’s easy to see why.
To insist on having staff follow rules to the letter and still be effective requires you to have a detailed policy for everything.
Instead of endless rules, it’s much easier to empower your staff – give them permission to actually help the customer.
And there are few excuses for treating customers so poorly. The tips in POS are so straightforward and easy to implement, yet so few businesses take the time to help you to feel understood, let alone actually solve your problem.
I suppose that many businesses think that they don’t have to focus on being pleasant or helpful – they either have you under contract, or think they can keep getting more new customers.
It can be much easier to deliver a positive experience and everyone can win as a result. Think about the last product or service you recommended to a friend. I’ll bet it was light-years ahead of the ‘usual’ customer experience.
POS gives some great advice. Some highlights:
- give your customer services people the ability to make the customer happy
- have someone at a high level (i.e. accountable) involved in (or at least aware of) any complaints
- empower your staff to make good decisions
If you’re still wondering what all the fuss is about, just wait until you have an ‘issue’ with your broadband or mobile phone, or have some questions about your electricity bill.
I thoroughly recommend you read POS. It may leave you feeling angry too – and it might just help to change things for the better for all of us.Positively Outrageous! by firstname.lastname@example.org