“Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”
Customer service is about showing how much you care – actions speak louder than words. How often have you been annoyed or angry about being shown indifference by people in customer service roles? There are 10 customer service actions – note the words ‘service’ and ‘action’ that I think all people in custom service roles should use. I will use an example that was the subject of and earlier blog.
Many years ago I was managing a vehicle transport company in regional Australia. A transport manifest arrived by fax at 4.00 pm and upon reading it I learnt that there was a car arriving within the next 2 hours that was due in Brisbane that night. Brisbane was 1,200 kms up the road (14 hours drive away). To make matters more complicated the car was needed by the customer in Cairns in 2 days time (a further 1,700 km away or 20 hours drive away). The vehicle was for a customer to use on his tropical beach holiday a further hour’s drive north. There was no way of physically getting the vehicle to Cairns for the customer.
1. Calling back when promised
The customer was called back. After initially alerting him to the problem the customer was called back within the 24 hour period as promised.
2. Explaining what caused the problem…………..in simple language
I explained that it was our fault and we would have a solution for him not having his car on holidays.
3. Letting customers know who and what numbers to call
He was given my phone number and the Brisbane branch manager’s phone number.
4. Contacting customers promptly when a problem is solved
As soon as the hire car in Cairns had been arranged he was advised.
5. Giving customers full access to speak to management
I stated that if he was not happy with our solution he could contact my General Manager.
6. Telling how long it will take to solve a problem
He was assured that we should be able to solve the problem before he left for Cairns within next 48 hours.
7. Offering useful alternatives if a problem can’t be solved
As we could not physically get his car to Cairns on time, we offered him a hire car at no cost.
8. Treating customers like people, not account numbers
9. Advising customers on how to avoid a future problem
It was suggested that he advise the depot next time he required his vehicle to be transported that it was “IMPORTANT” and needed priority.
10. Giving progress reports if a problem cannot be resolved
Whilst we solved his problem by offering him a hire car, he was contacted at every transport leg where the car was delivered to Cairns.
A seemingly impossible situation was solved using these 10 customer service actions. The customer was happy and continued to be a client for many years. As the quote implies, I could have told him it was impossible to get his car to Cairns in the time frame required (“how much you know”) Instead, customer service was demonstrated (“how much you care”) and he was happy.
These 10 actions are so fundamental to good customer service that in our logistics business I had them framed and placed in every office.