When customer service employees are asked if they provide good service, almost everyone says “yes.” Almost no one says, “No, I’m really lousy at customer service.”
That raises a question. If everyone in the country thinks they provide good customer service, then why are customer satisfaction scores lower than ever? Why are so many consumers fed up with the service they receive? Obviously there’s a big gap between the provider’s definition of good customer service and the consumer’s satisfaction with that service.
So what should you do if you’re in the customer service business? What can you do to ensure customer satisfaction? I could talk about that for a whole day. In fact I’ve written a 275-page book on the subject, but for starters, forget about customer satisfaction. AIM FOR CUSTOMER ENTHUSIASM.
There is a difference. A satisfied customer is simply a person who got what he paid for, nothing more, and nothing less. Unfortunately, research says 40% of your “satisfied” customers will move to the competition if they get better service.
What you want and need are “enthusiastic” customers. Enthusiastic customers are people who got more than they paid for, and as a result, they are customers who stick with you.
One way to get enthusiastic customers is to SURPRISE them with service that goes beyond the call of duty. I think of PPS, a medical supply company that went from $90 million to $1 billion in 3 years. They did it by promising delivery of anything in 24 hours. When a customer called in to order 6 pairs of crutches and PPS didn’t have any, PPS went to its competitor, bought 6 pairs of crutches at $20 each, and sold and shipped them to their customer for $6 each.
Crazy? Not at all. PPS knows that actions such as that create “enthusiastic” customers who will stick around for a few years, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Have you surprised your customers lately? Have you given them service beyond the call of duty? If not, you may be surviving, but you’re not building the base of customer loyalty needed in today’s market.
Go ahead. Surprise your customers, just like a local hardware store did a while ago. When a giant Home Depot opened up across the street from him, the local guy went to Home Depot and wrote down all the things Home Depot didn’t have. The local guy adjusted his inventory and put up a sign that read, “If Home Depot doesn’t have it, we do.” His business tripled as a result. He SURPRISED his customers with service that went beyond the call of duty.