|Quality Customer Service|
I’ve recently read Jeff Haden’s article about how company growth effectively kills quality customer service. When you look at the largest companies in the business world, chances are you would only be able to name a handful of international companies who maintain quality customer service; and these are even conscious company efforts to be recognized for the customer service they give their clients. But, can’t quality customer service simply follow---out of their sheer desire to provide exceptional products and services?
Apparently it is possible, even in this time and age. In the above mentioned interview, Haden had an email conversation with Road ID co-founder Edward Wimmer. The topic of the conversation?
“Growth and scale are the enemy of outstanding, personal service.”
Now, a little clarification on why Haden chose Road ID as his counterpart for this conversation; on one forum for bike hobbyists, a member complained about how Road ID didn’t match up to the quality promised to him, such as the tag inscription on one quickly becoming unreadable and the clasp of another not functioning properly. Of course, complaints from customers and clients are commonplace. But the amazing fact is that, for the next couple of pages, other Road ID customers defended both the company and their product. And these are not even paid evangelists, they are simply loyal customers. When Wimmer was asked how they were able to achieve such devoted customers, he simply replied: “I wish I could tell you we have a secret sauce, but it really isn't hard. It's easy. We do have systems, but they are based on common sense and how we would want to be treated.” So what exactly are they doing right that everyone else seems to be doing so wrong?
Learn to take a loss - All your interactions with your customers need not necessarily benefit your company directly. If you want to please your customers, you have to learn to accept losses, even if means replacing a product for an unhappy customer for free when your policy clearly states that they should buy a new one because of their situation. It will not only please your customer, but that customer might also become a brand evangelist because of the pleasant experience they had with your company. It’s all a matter of using your better judgement.
Do what you can to keep your customers - Because it’s been said, time and again, that keeping existing customers is way more cheaper than looking for new customers all the time. While Road ID is actively expanding its market, it doesn’t mean that they neglect all their past customers.
Humanize your brand - When people have problems, they want to talk to other people to make sure that their problems are resolved right away and properly. Wimmer uses his personal email to respond to customer purchases, and it’s his voice that customers hear when they call the company, not some generated automatic voice.
Always be prepared - Make it so that your customers call your company because they want to, not because they have to. But when they do have to contact you, be willing and ready to respond to their problems.