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From the Front Lines

This is a guest post by Mark Ellis. Find out more about Mark by following him on Twitter 

 

Working at the coal face of customer service for many years I have seen examples of the good, the bad and the ugly of customer service, then again, haven’t we all?

All of us have stories of when we have received good customer service or bad.  We are happy to regale our friends and colleagues with stories of when these stand out.  Word of mouth can be the glory or the doom of any business.   If you ask anyone to give an example of when they have received excellent customer service, how many of them will tell you a tale of something gone wrong that was made right?  When they had a problem that was resolved leaving them happy in the knowledge that their concerns were heard, and a solution provided.  How often do we hear the bad stories of numerous calls to customer services, repeating your complaint over and over and still not getting anywhere, and finally giving up and moving onto a different supplier?

Good customer service most of the time passes unnoticed.  When everything runs smoothly and we get exactly what we expect, we don’t even think about it.  But when things go wrong it is the chance for customer service to shine.  Resolving that complaint on the first contact and reassuring your customer that you have their interests at heart. Investigating the causes and putting a fix in place to stop it from happening again. The most loyal customer is the one that has made a complaint and had it resolved.  They know they can rely on you to do the right thing.

Good customer service is the responsibility of everyone.  From the Advertising Executive making sure that the right company image is given so that your customers know what you can and cannot do.  Sales providing what the customer wants and needs, and not just thinking about that bottom line.  Pro-active account management, staying in touch with the customer to make sure that everything is still as it should be.  We are terribly British sometimes and won’t actually complain until it becomes unbearable.

Complaints are nothing to fear, they are the opportunity to find out where you are going wrong and do something about it.  It is the chance to show that you do care about the service you provide.  Get it right and that customer will sing your praises to everyone they know.  Get it wrong and they will warn your new prospective customers off you.

I love the satisfaction of being able to resolve that issue, of being able to listen and provide a solution.  I get the warm glow of a job well done.

There is that old adage that “The Customer is always right”.  In truth the customer just wants you to be honest.  Even saying no can be excellent customer service; it is just the matter of how you say it.  Customer service is an emotional journey.  How you handle those emotions is equally important to how you deal with the issue at hand.

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