√Customer Service Excellence is the single most distinguishing factor to maintain critical competitive advantage – LR√
During one of our travels, one of the airlines in China cancelled our flight and they sent us an email asking us to call them. When we did, we went back and forth for the next 3 hours, , sandwiched between the bureaucracy of two airlines. As it happened, we had booked our entire journey through one airline, and we had to use the other airline for one sector. Every customer service person of the airline that we had booked our flights through kept telling us to speak to the other airline and that they could not reissue the ticket to the new flight following the cancellation by the other airline because they had nothing to do with the cancellation. After spending over 3 hours, we finally managed to speak to the manager and get the situation resolved. This experience left us exhausted, frustrated and not wanting to return back to that place. It showed lack of care, empathy and above all, we were made to feel as if they were obliging us (the customer), when the airline had decided to cancel a flight. In short, a harrowing experience.
At the same time, consider this example. We get on to a local taxi from our hotel to go a specific location. While in that taxi, we received a call on the taxi drivers’ mobile. It was the concierge from our hotel calling us to tell us that the restaurant for which we had a table booked had their last order at 9 pm, and he has booked the table for us, therefore, at 8:30 pm, different from our original request of 9 pm. Here was a guy who thought about the customer (us), went the extra mile of contacting us through the taxi driver, and showed that he was enterprising and cared. He didn’t have to call us to let us know that he had made the booking 30 minutes earlier and yet he did.
If one to draw a line of customer experience, the two experiences were polar opposite.
How many times
->have you expected the customer to run around for the idiosyncrasies of the procedures and processes created by your organization?
->has the customer been hassled for all the wrongs done by you or others in your organization?
->have customers, despite having followed all the procedures, not able to get their desired outcomes ?
->have you made a customer feel that you are doing an obligation to them by dealing with your company?
->have you cared for your customer?
Would you rather have a satisfied customer who champions your business or a customer who despite giving you many chances wants to never deal with you because of the agonizing experience they had?
Make your customer experience REAL service
Respect is earned and for that you need to treat your customer with respect. You need to truly understand what a customer experiences whilst dealing with your company.
You do not show Empathy by just saying, we understand, but….
True empathy comes from putting yourself in the shoes of your customer in that particular situation. Relationships are formed when you treat your customer with care and show genuine interest in what they want. You will be surprised at how much you can grow by listening to your customer. Truly listen.
Be adaptable. Have an attitude of telling the truth and in situations where you are right and the customer is wrong or may have misinterpreted, make sure you convey it in a way that keeps the communication lines open and friendly. Procedures and processes are necessary and they don’t need to be long-winded and followed without any value add. Be willing to adjust if the situation require so.
To understand what a customer is going through, look at the situation with an open heart. Learn from every customer experience, good or bad. Accept your mistakes and always ask yourself would you like to have an agonizing experience as a customer?
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