Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Customer care is simple

When I was younger there was clear difference in product reliability. There were numerous jokes going around like:

What do you get if you merge British Leyland with Mothercare?

Answer - A car with a built in rattle.

Nowadays cars work. Vacuum cleaners work. Washing machines work. Televisions work …. And so the list goes on. Anything I buy seems to work.

I would say reliability has improved beyond recognition in the last 10 years. Occasionally of course the product we buy doesn't work but I suggest that is now the exception rather than the rule.

Where am I going with this?

Well - My question is … if everything works... what is it that makes me part with my money to a particular supplier versus another?

For instance if the specification is the same for the Washing Machine and the price is the same in two shops what makes me choose one shop over another?

My feeling is it has to do with the attitude of the staff who deal with me as the customer.

The business that makes me feel special and important is the one I am likely to use and recommend. The one that does not treat me with that care will not get my future business. And of course, more importantly, I am going to tell my friends and family about the good and the bad. So when you lose one direct customer you may also be losing more because people talk.

Why do some staff in direct contact with customers give the impression that we customers are some sort of inconvenience spoiling the tranquillity of their working day?

This really is simple stuff … Isn’t it? … Or am I missing something here?


Marilyn said...

It's simple to give your customer a great experience, yet it isn't easy! I'm convinced that employees bring a great attitude with them when they are hired, and no amount of training can instill it in them. Their attitude radiates out to all, including internal customers.

The HR manager in our office of 40 (partly a call center) is a master of finding these eagles one at a time. Our interview process seems incredibly slow to some candidates, yet there seems to be a method to it. The letters we get from customers attest to it. Of course, we get our share of unsatisfied people, all businesses do. But not because they were treated with anything less than respect.

My answer to it is find people interested in providing excellent service, then get out of the way!

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Marilyn – the more responsibility we ‘allow’ front line staff to take the easier it becomes for managers to do their job more effectively. The problem for some managers seems to be to ‘let go’ of their ‘perceived’ power. In my experience people I delegate work to invariably do jobs better than me because for them it is a new challenge whilst I may have become stale without even knowing it. Not a researched academic argument but anecdotal evidence from my own practical management experience.