Join Jeff Toister for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding how your customers view your service, part of Customer Service Foundations.
The quest to provide outstanding customer service is never ending. Customer taste and preferences change. Problems occur and we need to fix them. Each customer is unique, so what might delight one customer may annoy another. All this makes it critical to understand how your customers view your service. Outstanding customer service is defined as service that exceeds your customer's expectations. But how do you know if your customer's expectations have been exceeded? For that matter, how will you know if there's a problem? For every complaint you receive, research shows there are many more customers who've had the same gripe, but didn't complain.
Perhaps they didn't think it would do any good, or it could be they just decided to take their business somewhere else. That means there could be a problem that you never hear about unless you go looking for it. When we provide great service, unsolicited compliments are even harder to come by than complaints. The next time you're in a restaurant or a store, try asking to speak to a manager and then complimenting the manager's employees for a job well done. You'll probably see a shocked look on their face, since most people only ask to speak to the manager when there's a problem.
We can never assume that customers are happy and things are going well. We have to investigate. On an individual level, the best way to learn how your customers feel is to ask them directly. You might ask them at the end of an interaction or even follow up a short while later to make sure everything is okay. This gives yourself the opportunity to verify that your customer is pleased or to provide additional service if necessary. An important reminder here is that customers are often asked the same questions over and over again.
Questions like, is there anything else I can do for you, are asked so often that many customers answer automatically and say, no, without even thinking. Many customer service professionals ask the questions and get the same answers so often that they stop paying attention, too. You have to pay careful attention, if you really want to know how your customer feels. Listen to their tone of voice and observe their body language. For example, if you ask a customer, how was everything? And they reply, it was okay. It may be a signal that they have a small problem but don't think it's worth bringing up.
You might learn more by asking, why just okay? Or, is there anything I could do to make it great? Seizing this opportunity could help you turn a slightly negative experience into a positive one. Asking customers how they feel about the service they received works on an individual level, but companies often gather data to spot trends across all of their customers. A single customer who complains about a product might just be an anomaly. But companies definitely want to know if several customers make the same complaint. The tricky part here is those customers may have made all their complaints to different customer service reps, so companies need to find a way to put all those pieces together.
The next few videos in this chapter will give you an introduction to some of the ways companies gather data to learn how their customers feel about their service. You'll see how this data can be used to continuously improve service levels and I'll share some tips for partnering with your manager to deliver the best service possible.
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- What is outstanding customer service?
- Identifying your customer
- Creating a customer service vision
- Enhancing likability in person, over the phone, and via email
- Actively listening to customers
- Going the extra mile
- Taking ownership of problems
- Diffusing angry customers
- Using data to evaluate and improve your customer service<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.