It's all about the experience!

Just as I was getting ready to leave for a dentist appointment this morning, my phone rang. It was my dentist calling to cancel my three hour procedure. The staff member doing the work called off sick and no one else was available. Great.  I’m one of those people who are less than thrilled about going to the dentist anyway, so this was not good news. I already spent last evening psyching myself up for this and had taken the morning off work. And yet, despite my disappointment, I really couldn’t be upset.

Why? First, he personally called to tell me. He didn’t pass it off to someone else. He apologized. It was before office hours but he wanted to catch me before I headed out the door. To do that he had to remote access his schedule in order to get my phone number. He went the extra mile to not inconvenience me any more than this change in schedule already had. He assured me his staff would call me to reschedule. They did. His consideration of my time, the fact that he made the call and that he did what he said he would do, made it a good customer experience. A little thing you say? Maybe.  But for me, it’s one that will keep me coming back.

That got me thinking. Customer service or customer experience is again center stage. It’s a hot topic in magazines, on social media platforms and industry research. It’s not like it went away and came back. It’s just that every now and then we all need to be reminded of its importance and not take it for granted or get lazy about it. Remember the big “quality” initiative?  Companies advertised it as a huge benefit to purchasing their products. Then everyone realized that quality should be a given; not something out of the ordinary. Same with the customer experience, it should always be a part of what you do – the differentiation is whether it’s a good customer experience or a bad one.

The thing is that good or bad are basically the choices for rating customer service. There’s really no middle ground. Remember the poem about the little girl with a curl in the middle of her forehead? When she was good, she was very, very good and when she was bad she was horrid. That pretty much sums up the customer experience.  That experience can cost your company in more ways than one.

We’d all like to think that our company provides the best customer service experience ever. But do we? In a study done by Lee Resources, 80 percent of companies feel they provide “superior” customer service. In reality, eight percent of people think that these same companies deliver “superior” customer service. That’s a significant disparity in perception versus reality.

So are you really providing that “superior” customer experience? Put yourself in your customers’ place. View it from their perspective. Do you like what you see? Like what you hear? You’d better because 91 percent of unhappy customers won’t willingly do business with you again (Lee Resources).  

According to Shep Hyken, customer service and experience expert, “Customer service is the experience we deliver to our customer. It’s the promise we keep to the customer. It’s how we follow through for the customer. It’s how we make them feel when they do business with us.”

It’s what keeps them coming back. 

Posted by MJ Thomas

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