Performance – Oriented Customer Service Prescription
BY JAGDEEP KAPOOR
Like a Cricketer, a Customer Service Professional too is ‘in form’ and ‘out of form’. But if he is a professional, he should be able to ‘perform’ even on his off day. The customer needs to be offered a basic minimum level of service in a ‘uniform’ and consistent manner. The Customer Service Professional who waits for ’reform’ or for times when he is ‘in form’ is a loser. Winners don’t wait. They ‘perform’ every time. This fulfillment through performance, Performance – Oriented Customer Service Prescription, is a key to customer satisfaction.
Performance means fulfillment of a task so that a customer’s expectations are met or exceeded. Customers don’t have the patience to wait for the day when the Customers Service Professional will be ‘in form’ to provide good Customer Service.
The focus here is on the task. There is no task which is small or big from the point of view of the customer. The customer feels that all tasks related to him are of prime importance.
A customer once called on his bank’s telebanking service to ask for his savings account balance. The identification process over, the customer expectantly waited for the Customer Service Professional at the other end to reveal his account status. After making him wait for seven minutes, the Customer Service Professional sheepishly said that he could not comply with the request. When the customer asked him why, he was told, I don’t know”.
By now the customer was mad, and having lost his balance over not getting his bank balance from the Customer Service Professional, he went to the bank the next day, withdrew his entire balance and closed his account, taking his business to a more accommodating bank.
There was only one piece of unfinished business as far as the customer was concerned. What on earth kept the Customer Service Professional from disclosing his balance !
This simple task, when not performed, resulted in the customer having a frustrating Brand Experience and cost the bank a client.
When business is lost due to bad Customer Service, the brand suffers on two fronts. One is the loss of a customer. The other is the loss of potential customers because you can be sure that the victim of bad Customer Service is going to spread bad word-of-mouth in his circle of friends and acquaintances. This walk-out and talk-out can cripple a business in the long run.
A good case in contrast is LIC, the largest Life Insurance company in India. A few years ago, a senior corporate executive in his fifties passed away, leaving behind a wife and a handicapped child. Collecting her insurance amount proved to be a cake walk for the wife. There was no need for her to run from pillar to post. Instead, the LIC agents (Customer Service Professionals), helped her with the paper work and ensured that she received the insurance amount due.
Sometimes a simple task, when not done, can leave a customer fuming and fretting at the service quality. While having dinner at a restaurant, an executive and his guest ordered Cream of Tomato Soup. The waiter diligently took the order and even reconfirmed it with them. But when their order arrived, they discovered to their horror that it was Cream of Chicken Soup. You can imagine the distress of the Executive and his guest when I tell you that both of them were strict vegetarians.
It was a disastrous Brand Experience for them. They left, vowing never to return to that restaurant again. And you can safely assume that their walk-out was followed by a talk-out, when family, friends and friends of friends would hear of the tomato that turned out to be chicken. It was the simplest of tasks, but when ill performed it led to bad Customer Service.
Therefore, it is important for Customer Service Professionals to be performance-oriented towards a task. The four-step formula for successful Performance-Oriented Customer Service is :
Simple or complex, please remember that each and every task is important to the customer.
- Listen to the customer and understand the task.
- Reconfirm the task
- Perform the task
- Check if the task is performed according to the customer’s expectation and whether the customer is satisfied.
Imagine this scenario. A Customer has just finished the most satisfying meal in the restaurant. The ambience of the restaurant was soft and soothing, the food delicious and the service satisfying – everything was just as he liked it. It was the end of a glorious evening, if only the finale was played out with as much of verve. But no, the bill, which he had asked the waiter for 15 minutes ago, was just not forthcoming. A perfect Brand Experience is perfectly ruined. After exhausting his patience, the customer walks towards the exit, when the waiter emerges out of the woodwork waving the bill and apologizing profusely.
This is exactly what happens when customers decided to stop buying a product or service and begin to leave the brand. That’s when the sales persons rush to try and keep the customers, to contain the imminent damage. But to no avail.
The plain and simple way to keep a customer for life is to perform the smallest tasks so as to exceed customer expectations. Follow my Performance-Oriented Customer Service Prescription and you will always have a devout band of smiling customers for your brand.
The author is Brand Guru Jagdeep Kapoor, Managing Director of the successful Samsika Marketing Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. Tel: 022 28477700/7701 Fax: 28477699 E-mail: email@example.com
Copyright © 2008 All rights reserved with Jagdeep Kapoor, Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
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