“Things that matter in customer services” is a list of points based on my experience that will propel your mind to move towards bringing innovation in providing better customer service with customer centricity.
- Empathy: It is the understanding of the compassion one needs to develop to provide customer service. Once you understand why your job exists then you will be able to do better on this.
- Capture expectations: Understanding customer expectations. What product or services does the customer expect you to deliver? Prepare a document and share with the customer your understanding of the expectations and agree on the clear service levels.
- Listen to the customer: When customer talks, listen diligently. Undivided attention to customer’s voice solves more than 50% of the problem/expectations. Once the customer gets the impression that you listen effectively their confidence increases on your deliverables.
- Small and obvious improvements: Bring in small and obvious improvements to the product or services. These improvements are value add, which delights the customers.
- No surprises: Always be in touch with the customer and update of the happenings. In case of anything that didn’t happen as per plan, without hesitation communicate in advance and provide the alternate plan or date. This would increase customer’s confidence on your business.
- Commitment to commitment: You should fully commit to the commitments made and ensure accomplishments that are appreciated by customers again and again. This is possible only when you track all your commitments to its timely completion.
- Complaint is a gift: Complaint provides an opportunity to refine your system/process. When we get a complaint, our curiosity should increase to dig deeper and find out the root cause of the matter. Once the root cause is identified and fixed, most likely the problem will never recur.
- Metrics as a way to manage: What gets measured gets improved faster. In a complex environment, one needs to decide on the select few matrices which will help to manage the operations. Take the example of Airlines – one such metrics may be the percentage of on-time departure and on-time arrival; once this is measured with a clear operational definition which is agreed by the customer, such metrics will help in managing things well and bringing structured improvements.
- Courage to admit mistake: It is easier said than done. Don’t try to cover up, admit the mistake if any without hesitation and learn from the failures/mistakes.
- Principle of Win-Win: The principle of win-win under any situation will boost the confidence of the customer. Particularly, when such an exercise is done with adequate transparency, it will help in confidence building.
“Silent customers can be deadly. Encourage them to complain”(Ron Kaufman)