Every call, email, chat, or visit to a company's website is a unique experience for an organization to differentiate itself from their competition. More than price, since companies vie for the best prices all the time, is to make truly lasting impressions in order to win customer loyalty. In an information driven society, where anyone can research brands as easily as connecting to the internet, customer service is apt to be the winning difference.
It's going back to basics that drives the train of success. Using the analogy of a train, the depots may have improved in their appearances with more comfortable benches, but the destinations are still the same. Companies may have larger, more inviting stores, but providing superior service is still what sets apart Zappos from ABC Shoes. They both have the same merchandise, but one just does it better. Admittedly,companies like Zappos can afford to spend millions on developing their brand loyalty, but didn't they all start out small and learn from their own mistakes?
So what comprises quality customer service and how can we do it better? It's not so complicated if we break it down to what each of us as customers truly want from a company selling us shoes or service. Here are some of the basics I learned:
- Listen to what customers want. Make me a priority when I am in your store. If I am browsing your website, have what I want in your inventory because you have researched what shoppers like me want.
- Make my shopping experience easy. If I'm on your website, make it user-friendly for me. I'd appreciate if you didn't charge for shipping, and if you have a really easy return policy too. If I visit your store, have sales staff available for questions when I need help. Please smile at me when I come in so I feel important and welcome.
- Listen to my complaints. Don't make excuses when your company messes up.
- Don't use canned speeches on me when I call. I trust that you are educated enough to speak for your company without having to read a script. I trust your company has the confidence in you to be able to make decisions affecting our customer relationship.
- Don't take is personally. That was an unfair charge you levied on my account, and I have grown tired and irritated that the charge has not been removed in spite of four previous conversations with the customer resolution staff. My time is valuable.
- Respond to me within 24 hours. I know how to use Twitter and Facebook, and I will tell others.
- Communicate with me. Tell me what you are going to do to help me. Don't tell me to call back at the end of the week when it is your company's error.
- Make me feel like you understand how I feel. Don't get defensive.
- Take my feedback on your company as help to make your company better. I am probably not the only customer out here feeling this way.
- Resolve my problem.