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If you ask most people today, they’ll tell you that good customer service is a top priority. Unfortunately, those same people also feel overworked and often don’t follow through on good customer service like they know they should.
It’s common knowledge that happy customers are repeat customers, but it can be easy to provide a less than stellar customer service experience when you’re focus in on efficiency, and not on the customer.
My new tire story
The other day I needed to get new tires for my car. I went into the shop just before 8 AM in hopes that I’d get my car back at a decent time.
They told me I’d have to wait until sometime between 2:00 and 4:00 PM.
Getting the tires wasn’t an emergency, but since I was there already, I decided to get them.
If you're like me, when you have your car into the shop you keep wondering how the repairs are going. I didn’t hear from them at all, so I decide to call just after 4:00. I was told it would be another 30 minutes.
I waited a 1/2 hour, and then another 1/2 hour. Still nothing, so I called back at 5:30. They told me it should be ready by closing time (6:00 PM).
The workers were all very nice, but if I’d waited to hear from them, I’d probably still be sitting by the phone.
It’s easier to react to life than to make life happen
The classic excuse is, “If I sit around making calls all day, I’ll never get any work done,” but I don’t buy that for a second. Efficiency is ok, but creating a strong customer service experience is the key to having people come back. Anyone in your organization can do this too. It’s especially effective when it’s someone other than the manager or the CEO taking the extra step.
The problem is that for most front-line employees, it’s easier to react to events happening during the day than it is to be proactive and make great things happen.
If customer contact isn’t a required step in the work they’re doing, the chances of it happening go way down. It’s not a lack of respect to your time or money. People get so caught up in their day’s work that they don’t find the time to do it.
They may be diligent and qualified in their job, but without good communication, you as a customer, will never know.
A simple question to improve results
The best way to get people to do something proactive when they’re in a reactive state is to make it part or the system.
Now when your clients come into the shop, you can ask them, “Would you like me to text, tweet, Facebook, email, or phone updates to you?”
Then, somewhere on the work order or computer screen, add a section to prompt for customer contact before proceeding. It could be as simple as a tire technician indicating that the car is being taking into a bay for servicing by sending out a premade text message.
The use of social media allows you to speed up the rate that you can send out information to clients (you could send multiple messages saying, “Your car is ready.”). There’s also the side benefit of reducing the number of calls from customers asking for updates.
It’s the little things you do each day that make you great
It doesn’t take a CEO to come in and save the day with customer service issues. It just takes a few little things, done well, to get the job done.