I went to the grocery store the other day for two reasons: to buy bananas and to see if they had some cardboard boxes I could take for storage. I walked up to customer service, planning to first ask about the boxes, and second to buy my bananas. The Customer Service Representative kindly called into the dairy section to ask for empty boxes from a recent delivery. Then, immediately looking past me, she asked the next person in line how she could help them. That was poor customer service.
WHAT MAKES BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE BAD?
Now, I’m not one to complain or tell someone off who’s working in retail, especially over something as minor as empty boxes. It’d be rude to do so considering retail workers aren’t allowed to dish out what they have to take from people. However, while I stood to the side waiting to buy the bananas, I was a little annoyed. I expected her to ask if there was anything else she could do for me before moving on to the next customer. It’s a small problem to run into, but customer service boils down to customer expectations and whether or not they’re met. Great customer service goes beyond expectations, good customer service meets expectations, and poor customer service falls short of expectations.
WHAT DO CUSTOMERS EXPECT?
Customer expectations can be different from field to field, but there are broad strokes that hold true anywhere. All customers expect the following:
Timeliness – People don’t like to be kept waiting longer than they expect. If they go to a five-star restaurant, they expect to be waiting for their food. It’s another story when they’re at McDonald’s.
Attention and Respect – Customers shouldn’t act like the world revolves around them, but they do want to feel like their voices are heard so that their needs or wants will be met.
Quality, Consistency, and Honesty – It’s simple. People want what they pay for and they want what they set-out to buy. They will be mad if they feel lied to or cheated.
Empathy and Willingness to Solve a Problem – Nothing ever works out perfectly, and no one should expect it to. However, when customers bring up a problem, they expect you to care and to fix it if possible.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
For the average person, it doesn’t matter how you define customer service. We’re only affected by it in passing. However, for any company whose employees directly interact with customers, it’s imperative to drill down to the molecular level of customer service. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing business.