Everyday Lessons in Customer Service
By Carly Stewart
We all know that customer service makes a business. It determines whether or not you capture a client base, whether you keep that client base and whether they are satisfied enough to recommend your business elsewhere. We have written before about how important it is to make connections with people. Now we’ll discuss how the best customer service helps make those connections.
Everyone has a story about a time when their customer service was excellent: perhaps because it was so memorable, or perhaps because it sticks out from the norm of average to poor service. In order to examine what exactly makes service good or bad service we interviewed some Inphonite employees and asked for their stories from terrific to horrific.
“Tanque Verde Guest Ranch had the best customer service I have ever received. Everyone from the bartender to the guides on horseback were excellent. They loved their jobs. The owner lives on site and made breakfast in the middle of a trail ride right there on the trail, and made an effort to talk to everyone,” says one Inphonite employee. “We were treated like we had been there for weeks, even having just stayed there one night: since then, whenever possible I spend a lot more time there.” All of these stories end the same, we would pay more for better service and a better experience.
Many employees agreed that their best customer service experience was when the company did not make them run through rings of fire to solve a problem. “When the product went bad, they replaced it no questions asked,” said Inphonite Employee Jon Sales. Rick Clayton states, “Once we had a minor problem with our meal, they got us a new plate and even gave us a free dessert for the trouble.” Do you see a trend here? While it is important to balance the cost of giving away free products, it is more important to maintain relationships, and above all, to take responsibility for your mistakes.
The best case of a company owning up to mistakes in my experience was made by Jiffy Lube. After an unfortunate incident involving a stolen iPod during an oil change, the company responded directly to my tweeted complaint and asked for more information. Within a week the local store Manager as well as a national customer service representative both called to get more information and send their apologies. The company ended up reimbursing me the full amount of the stolen iPod which certainly is rare in the service industry. While in the future I will be sure to remove my iPod from my glove box and take it with me, I was so pleased by their response I will not change companies.
We next asked the employees what they thought made for bad service. A common issue that many of us at Inphonite have is a company not calling back after telling them that you have a problem. And when they do call back they act as though you should already know the solution. I am sure many people experience the same thing. The customer service representative sounds like they are talking down to you and that makes you feel unintelligent--then they try and get you off the phone as soon as possible.
Recognizing both the highlights and the problems we have all had with other companies is the first step to connecting with customers. We make an effort every day to validate our customers and let them know they are our number one priority. We are here to help. Inphonite representatives consider each customer like family, from stopping to spend time chatting about the big game while we wait for a reboot to speaking eloquently about your SMTP gateway with your IT crew, we connect.