Remember when it used to be ok to be “good enough” with customer service? Nowadays product commoditisation, social media, customer buying power, “me too” offerings, strong competition and fickle customers mean it’s harder than ever to set yourself apart. For that reason, customer service is the holy grail for all companies that strive for differentiation. We all love truly excellent customer service – it makes us come back again and again. The end customer is no longer an afterthought.
Good service is competent, friendly and timely. Truly excellent service goes much further, and involves:
We have to remember that we are creating a wonderful emotional experience for the customer. Organisations that ignore the power of their customers’ emotions and invest solely in processes and systems are likely to fall short.
Many customers make daily choices from an emotional rather than logical point of view. We must remember this from the moment we engage them. A dirty entrance to a restaurant is thought to shape an entire dining experience. An ugly, hard-to-understand website will increase the likelihood of the customer navigating away.
However, perhaps the most important moment in customer service is actually the last moment of the process – this is the one that sticks in the customer’s mind. Do you remember the jazzy homepage of the website that you first saw or the messy final experience at the website check-out?
Take a moment to think of your own customer service experience. What wowed you? What created your loyalty? What was the last impression in your most powerful experiences?
The last impression defines the service experience and determines new choices.
As a service provider, paying more attention to the final moments of a service experience may pay off more than anything else that has gone before. Having contingency plans for potential system failures that could happen towards the end of the service transaction will also be an investment well made. Make sure that even if there is a mistake at this stage, the best service providers know how to recover to leave a lasting, positive impression.
Avoid potential pain in the future by taking the time to create a positive final experience for your customer. Make it a moment of magic – not a moment of misery!