Hey Everyone – first off, my apologies! The blog was down for a few days. My VISA card was compromised, and as such the hosting fees did not come out as usual – and my host (which will remain nameless for now, but you can easily find out who it is by doing a reverse DNS search on the site name) decided to cut me off and not tell me why, other than by leaving a message on their help system.
Great. That really helps.
They have my e-mail address and phone number. Is it so hard to provide GOOD customer service? Apparently it is.
I recently went to visit a local call center, they deal in insurance products. Can you guess what their customer satisfaction rate is? I will give you a hint, it IS NOT less than 80%.
Can you believe that? They won a local call center of the year award and the SQM award for customer satisfaction.
Now you may be thinking that there must be several different insurance companies and they just happen to provide the best service. Wrong. They are the ONLY insurance company in the area. Does that tell you something?
I had the opportunity to sit down and listen in on calls with one of their agents. They are very well trained, they have excellent soft-skills and they listen to the caller. That’s why they rate so highly. Being a monopoly they could easily abuse their position in the industry and do what they want – but they’ve put the customer first and it’s paying off.
They are saving money. Their agents are happy. The management is happy, and they get funding when they need it because their previous business case was compelling enough that they proved they could do it by winning awards and getting HIGH customer satisfaction results.
Regardless of the type of business you are in, customer service is the key. You don’t want to give away the store, but you want to be fair. You don’t need to antagonize or alienate the customer (as most retail operations do) but calmly explain. But most of all you NEED TO HAVE a customer service “manifesto” (I like that word). You need to ensure you have a solid customer service policy that you can explain to your staff, and to the customer when they come in.
It doesn’t need to be difficult. Here are two examples:
- Home Depot – 90 Days Return Policy With Receipt
- Sears – for years used the slogan “Satisfaction Guaranteed, or Your Money Refunded”
Another local clothing store that I go to don’t even have a policy! They say that you can return ANYTHING, provided it’s not been worn or altered at any time. I returned a pair of pants that were one year old. They took them back, and in fact offered me 50% off what I paid for them if I wanted to keep them.
Now that’s service.
What’s your Customer Service Policy?