Customer service is a tricky business.

Customer service is tricky. What is good customer service? What is bad customer service? As a business, how far do you have to go to please a customer?

The not so surprising answer to these questions is that there is no right answer. It depends on a lot of factors but a few are: your type of business, how many customers you have, the value of each customer the costs involved to please them, and what type of reputation you want.

I am in the service industry and my customer types vary greatly. Some use the service every week, others every month. I obviously want to keep those frequent high volume customers happy and I would rather spend more resources on pleasing them. But what if that low volume customer is a connector, meaning they talk a lot to other people and those people listen. Maybe they write a blog about great service with 1000’s of subscribers. But even worse, we don’t know who they are because we have far too many customers to keep track. This customer has a certain value that we can’t quantify through our sales data. Unless they are referring customers constantly how will we know just how valuable this customer is beyond how much they spend. It is therefore so important for us to keep a high level of service for all of our customers. Sure, we will monetarily reward our customers who spend more (ie. our Executive Club) but there is no way that we can differentiate which customer is a connector and will say great things about us (or worse yet, who will say something bad about us).

By offering a high standard of service you our bound to get that reputation on peoples lips eventually. Although, this doesn’t mean that you throw the bank at every customer no matter what the problem is. It is so important to stick by your standards and set customers expectations because for everyone of them that is a connector (let’s say 1 in 10) there is another one who will abuse good service because they can. And knowing when to say enough is enough is just as important as giving great service.

Lastly, never offer an unhappy customer everything at once. First try explaining to them the problem and if they are still not pleased offer a monetary incentive. They may or may not be happy with that first bone but at least if you don’t offer them everything at once you’ll at least have some more ammunition for round two!

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2 thoughts on “Customer service is a tricky business.

  1. Educating your customer’s expectations = Customer satisfaction « konrad

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