Myths to great customer service exist because something worked somewhat well for some organization once and that single success story gets repeated over and over again, generalized and exaggerated along the way until people began to think it was a requirement for business success. Too often, customer service myths hold us back from delivering good service because we don’t really understand the customer and we end up focused on tactics for customer service that don’t really work for customers.
In our quest for good customer service, and providing exceptional customer experiences, it’s essential that our focus be on real customer service, not myths about customer service. What are the customer service myths that holding you back? I’d like to suggest 4 myths of great customer service.
Myth #1: Customer service means “the customer is always right”.
Almost every customer service professional by now has heard the adage “the customer is always right!” In fact, most of the corporate training sessions in customer services start with these phrases and these words are drilled in employees minds day in and day out.
‘The customer is always right’ slogan and thinking pattern has reaped rich rewards for corporate trainers, but done little to help organizations establish really great customer service.
The customer is wrong, a lot. Don’t kid yourself and say otherwise. Customers don’t read instructions, they don’t read Web site service or product descriptions, they follow instructions incorrectly, they break things. They’re often confused. The customer it NOT always right.
REALITY: Customers are wrong. However, right or wrong, they’re still the customer. You want them to shop with you, not your competition.
Forget right or wrong, it doesn’t really matter. Your focus should be on understanding your customers’ needs and expectations, then positioning your team and organization to meet and exceed those expectations through your performance. Real motivation to your organization shouldn’t be focused on being right or wrong, rather on winning the customer.
Myth #2: Great customer service requires high employee salaries.
One of the most common answer that people sitting at the top give when faced with the question of depleting customer service standards; is that to get the best customer service people costs a lot. Or to keep them, requires outrageous salaries or bonuses. It’s often thought that by hiring a higher paid employee, the service standards increase.
Higher pay only guarantees you one thing: higher employee costs to your organization.
REALITY: Great customer service is about passionate people-focused people.
Great customer service starts with hiring the right people. Great customer service companies have passionate people, passionate about service. Pay is important, yes, they can’t be satisfied working at your organization while living on the street. But throwing money at people won’t make them serve better. Employees want meaning in what they do, they want goals, flexibility in work, and autonomy in their day-to-day responsibilities. Great customer service employees need attention and recognition for hard work…because great customer service is hard work.
I’ve often told my team members and other managers I work with that my interview process is an audition. I don’t bring in resumes, I study that before meeting the individual. I let the individual do most of the talking, with a few follow up questions just to dig a bit deeper into their personality and how they do things. I’ve already reviewed background, what they did, when they did it, where they were, etc. When I meet with a candidate at an interview, it’s their time to prove that they’re a service-minded person. The things they like, the things they do, the way they do it. It all tells you where they’re a service, people person or not. I’ve passed on really technically talented candidates because service-wise, they were lacking what it took to really wow people through service. It doesn’t do well for the customer experience if they got the right answer but the customer could tell that the customer service agent was annoyed or frustrated.
Myth #3: Great customer service requires a large staff of employees.
Most often customer service team leaders or people in strategic positions within an organization think that the answer of decrease in service standards is to increase the number of customer service employees and have additional people in the setup who can take care of customers.
Employees without service orientation and lack of effective training will only add to the companies’ wages bill rather than making a positive contribution in capturing a larger market share.
REALITY: Great customer service focused people, in the right setting, continue to serve great. Whether it be 10, 100, or 1000. Because good customer service is not about quantity, it’s about quality.
Having the right employees with the right attitude and mindset is what matters rather than merely increasing the headcount. Quality really matters over quantity. You can have a team of 1 customer service person and if that person isn’t right for customer service, you’ll have problems. But if you focus on bringing in the best service focused people, you can have 10, 100, 1000, or more and continually be able to deliver great customer service. Great customer service isn’t numbers, it’s quality interaction, with the goal to help the customer to resolution, each and every time.
Myth #4: Great customer service ensures repeat business.
Companies think that by making sure that they have one of the best trained employees who handle tough and demanding customer situations effectively will ensure repeat customers as they will be able to provide “wow” experience time and again.
Service excellence no doubt is one the most important criteria but not the only one for a customer to decide or fix his loyalties. Infact; in today’s age of the internet; there are practically zero royalties of customers towards a particular business. It is more a matter of convenience and the customer will shift onto a provider who will be able to offer convenience in doing business. So it could be a large format retail store or a remote online shopping store; it is convenience which rules the roost along with service excellence.
So what is good customer service all about?
This mistake is committed once too often by companies. The real catch of attracting customer’s attention is to come up with products and services which are made keeping the customers in mind and not the competition. What a customer desires, his needs and expectations from a brand or a product is what should be the base of the companies operations and not what the competition is up to.
Companies should introspect their systems and processes and their entire operational line of thoughts in accordance with these top 5 customer service myths of 2009 and the results will show that in all probability they would have some serious changes to make in the way that they do business.
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