Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Quality Customer Service

I came across this story by Laura about a very important customer experience issue.

When I consult with bankers on customer experience issues, I always say that in my travels there is one huge mistake a person can make when helping me. This mistake is regularly made by airline employees, store clerks, waiters, and many others. And here it is, very simply...sometimes they don't SEE me.

If I am standing across from someone I am doing business with, and I walk away with the impression that I never received any recognition from them on a person-to-person level, then they never "saw" me.

Some people are masters at this. I think about ticket-takers at a large sporting event. Even though that person is tearing one ticket per second, he or she has this gift of letting you know that they see you as an individual, even though most of them are volunteers.

Yet at other times, I might make a large bank deposit, or pay for a week's worth of training supplies, or change my flight, and the person gives me the glazed-over look, if any look at all.

I like the way Laura remedies this mindset with the "How can I help you" strategy.

I also heard a man speak before me at an off-site managers retreat last week. He's a former exec with Home Depot. He said this: "If you are a part of ANY company, and if what you do does NOT add to the customer experience, then you are a bureaucrat.

Now that sounds obvious. But his point was that bean counters and instructional designers and technicians SHOULD be finding ways to add to the customer experience, and therefore shed their bureaucratic tags. I think this is not only possible, but necessary.

(I posted this today because I was in a convenience store, and my entire experience at the register consisted of hearing one clerk tell another one about some guy they knew, "he's way too old for her. He's been married three times already, and I know this one won't last three months". Thanks for the service, ma'am.)

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