As a manager you’ll hopefully never be asked that question. If you are asked, it’s usually because you asked someone to do something and got the reply, “is that now part of my job?”  The answer to THAT question is always yes.
 
I’m talking about something deeper. Companies that are trying hard to improve are still not providing world-class service. Most don’t even give acceptable service. “We’re always working on service” and “We have frequent trainings on customer service” are comments I hear often.
 
So why is customer service still so poor? I find employees don’t understand what customer service is. They know the rules and the procedures and follow them. They know the policies and follow them. They know customer service is important and sincerely try to deliver good service. What they don’t understand is HOW to execute the procedures in a way that makes the customer feel important.
 
The best example of this is when, after a fruitless and exasperating call to “customer service”, the service rep politely asks, “is there anything else I can do for you?”  You want to scream!
 
Lately I’ve been working with several companies to improve their customer service. Sugery sweetness is NOT the goal of customer service. Most customer service reps do not know this simple truth. Being nice is not a goal of giving great customer service.  
 
The goal is to solve the customer’s problem in as little of the customer’s time as possible. Notice I said “the customer’s time”. Why should I, the customer, be chained to the phone for an hour while my customer service rep tries to find a supervisor to find out what to do about the problem?
 
I’m not going to list all the things that need to change in order to provide good customer service. You wouldn’t want to read the volumes I could produce on that topic and each business is a little different.
 
Just FOCUS on the point of this article. The goal of customer service is to solve the customer’s problem in as little of the customer’s time as possible. Failing that, being too nice actually increases the customer’s dissatisfaction.
 
Shameless Promotion: I can work with your customer service people to improve service. The cost of having me work with your people is insignificant when compared against the return. Call me on my cell: (650) 823-2803
 
Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog