While recovering from open-heart surgery, Mike Wagner of the White Rabbit Group had plenty of time to analyze how the hospital’s doctors, nurses and medical support staff engaged in their work and owned the outcomes. In the process, he developed some broad conclusions about customer service:
Customers don’t care about your problems. They want a product or service delivered as promised, not an excuse for why it didn’t happen. And be prepared for indifference if your idea of small talk includes personal anecdotes about kids with the flu or a flat tire on the way to work. Remember, they’re your customers, not your friends.
Customers don’t understand quality. “Most customers have no way to measure the quality of the goods/services you provide,” he writes. “All they know is the experience that surrounds the sale.” Since we tend to base opinions about quality on the overall experience, don’t neglect to back up your great product with great customer service.
Customers need you to manage their experience. By anticipating what might confuse or concern your customers and mapping out the road ahead you can put them at ease. Put your best and brightest in key positions. “I’ve always been mystified that customer service jobs in most companies are among the lowest paid and least respected positions,” writes Wagner. “These employees enforce or kill your brand every time they answer the phone or greet a client.”
The Po!nt: Every interaction with a client—from initial contact through follow-up customer service—should strengthen your brand.