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“Customer Service” – An Oxymoron?

July 18, 2010

What’s “wrong” with “customer service” these days? Well, for one thing, it’s not focused on the right things in far too many cases.  I have such an issue with this topic that it became an integral discussion in the “It’s Not Who You Know, It’s How You Treat Them” book.

In Chapter Two, I explain…

“See if this sounds familiar: you are the customer with a challenge. You pick up the phone or come to the company offering its services with which you need help.

Even though YOU are the one having a problem with the company’s service or product, and you’re reaching out for that help, you realize within 20 nanoseconds of the phone being answered or your appearance at the ‘service’ counter that you have seriously impinged on that employee’s personal time or messed with their groove.”  

We have gone from a mentality of “The Customer is Always Right” to “The Customer is an idiot and impediment to my getting my job done.”   That attitude, frankly, makes your business a commodity — an interchangeable unit.  Other companies can make the same widgets or provide the same service as you can. What keeps a customer from bailing out on your offering as soon as someome comes up with a better price point or promotion?

“It’s How You Treat Them.”  If you provide stellar service and treat your customers like they matter to you, they will feel a stronger sense of loyalty.  You’ll be building a relationship with them, not just conducting transactions.  That may be the biggest single difference between keeping them or losing them.

Ask yourself today: what am I doing to provide my customer with the feeling that they matter? (and, BTW…everyone has a “customer” even if it’s internal).  Think about one thing you can add to your business toolbox that enables you to stand out.  ‘Course, I have several suggestions, including some in Chapter Two from which this excerpt was taken. You can download a free sample copy of  Chapter Two here.

Don’t let “customer service” be YOUR oxymoron. Without “them” there’s no “YOU.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Maria Norcia Santillanes permalink
    July 18, 2010 12:10 pm

    Once again, a good post.

    Companies forget that without the customer, there is no business.

    I recently ran into that when I was looking at rentals and the company I approached for help in securing the rental … failed to call back … I had to call them again and then they blew me off because I was looking for something within a few months time … didn’t have time to keep me in the pipeline … only concerned about the price point I wanted … never heard from them again.

    It was apparent from the words, expressions and tone that since I wasn’t renting immediately, and in the area they currently had inventory, they didn’t have time for me. So I went with a company that took an interest in building a relationship, keeping me in the pipeline and used their words and tone to let me know my needs were valued even if they would not see a profit for a few months and they will receive my loyalty.

    It’s always about relationships …

    • Corinne Gregory permalink*
      July 18, 2010 12:17 pm

      Thanks, Mari, for the comments! So often we forget the “relationship” part of the transaction…but it always comes down to how others are willing to treat you. Probably one of those reasons grocery store “self-scans” really aren’t catching on the way so many expected. We’d rather wait in line a bit longer and deal with a human than a machine.

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