Forget Customer Service – Be Remarkable and Actually Care!
These days I am inundated with survey request asking me to rate my experiences with just about every company I come into contact with. Especially on-line companies. It is important to know what your customers think about your products and services but I think, these days, consumers are becoming survey weary. There are just too many of them and, I am sure, that we are, more often than not, only moved to comment negatively when we are really miffed about the service or product. In other words we take good customer service for granted.
Back in the last century, the best way to ascertain how consumers rated your company was to look in the till. I know first hand from my experiences in the 1970’s. The supermarket I managed back then was trading at a level way above the the national company average. The Managing Director came to see me and asked why we were achieving such high trading figures. I hadn’t a clue! In the end I said it was probably because the Cashier’s badges were on straight. Believe it or not that was part of the stores success: Attention to detail. Especially in Customer Care. Every tiny aspect. Anal in every respect. Perfection in this retail application made it very easy for the customers to buy stuff.
Do you know and understand the difference between service and care?
This is where I discovered the difference between Customer Service and Customer Care. Service is a function. Care is an emotion. Profitability in business is the Holy Grail. Wages are one of business’s greatest expenses. Productivity, efficiency, technology, and time and motion studies have, quite logically reduced employment bills radically. Self Service Supermarkets have been around since the 1960’s. In the last few years we have seen the rise of the self service checkout in certain shops. Add to this formula for profit the employment of zero contract hours people performing de-skilled functions such a shelf filling, cleaning, and checkout scanning and the result is a sanitized, clinical, homogenized service. Easy to buy for sure, but soulless, devoid of emotion. Empty. Same goes for robot receptionist telling us that we must listen to an endless list of ‘services provided, and to select a number corresponding with that service only to be told ‘our customers are valuable to us’ ‘Due to levels of business you are in the queue and an operator will be with you shortly’ over and over again.
My advice to small and medium size businesses is not to copy your bigger brethren and boot out Customer Service and replace it with Remarkable Customer Care. That is a care so remarkable that in this self/no service world we live in people are moved to tell others about the great feelings they get when they do business with you.