Whether you are the CEO, the receptionist or the guard at the gate, customer interaction is an inevitable part of our day. While the pundits stress that any interaction with a customer is a service touch point, the reality is far from it. Receptionists are not always friendly and most guards couldn’t care less.
We are all aware of the pitfalls of poor customer service, but what are the real costs to a business? Research shows that bad customer service costs companies $338.5 billion a year, globally. But before we dive into the building blocks of bad customer service. Let’s look at the flipside – what qualifies as good customer service?
The fundamental requirement to providing good customer service is “Knowing Your Customer”. KYC is the cornerstone of any long-term client relationship. If you know your customer – you can provide personalized service and you can provide the service in a manner that is convenient to them.
If you know your customer, and the customer touch points and your employees are competent and responsive – that’s good customer service.
Unfortunately, as a survey suggests, most companies that think they provide good customer service, don’t … in the eyes of the customer.
So why do so many companies fail at providing good customer service and what are the hidden costs of poor customer service?
Let’s look at some numbers associated with poor customer service:
With point #1 and #2 the fallout isn’t that great. Point #3 is the worst-case scenario, where if the review states your service is poor, this could have a colossal ripple effect on your business for months, if not years. As you know, once something is published in cyberspace, it is ridiculously difficult to erase.
You might think that your product is so unique that customers have no choice but to come to you. Wrong! Customers rarely remember the product; they remember the service they received when buying the product. Their positive or negative experience reflects on what and who you are as a business.
In Dubai for example, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE’s Prime Minister and Emir of Dubai recently announced that his new cabinet included its first “Minister of State for Happiness”. Why do you think this is?
Dubai is one of the most cosmopolitan cities on the planet, with access to world-class infrastructure and facilities. Why should the government care about the happiness index of people? The government understands that they are not selling facilities, goods or services, they are selling experiences. The ultimate goal of any experience is happiness. If Dubai is to retain the people who move there, then they need to make them happy and keep them happy.
Would you spend money on something that makes you unhappy? Then why should your customers? The cornerstone to happy customers and customer retention is obviously good customer service.
How do you recover from bad customer service?
Whilst we can all agree that technology has made our lives easier, it has also automated many of our daily human interactions – this includes customer service. More and more customers are demanding live interaction. You can recover by providing more hands on service, by interacting with your customers via their preferred channels and by providing better content. These are easier said that done, but over a period of time, they have a positive impact on your bottom line and keep your customers happy J.