If a customer has to expend extra energy to have their issue resolved, they are less likely to be loyal. However, if the customer doesn’t have to put too much effort into resolving their issue, they are more likely to be loyal. This according to a 2010 published article in Harvard Business Review titled, “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers.”
But, if you have been following me for the past fifteen years–whether through my blogs, newsletters, seminars or webinars–you know I’ve said this already. And I didn’t need to survey 75,000 customers like HBR did.
I have long said that exceptional customer service is ‘necessary evil’–we have to do it, if we don’t our competition will. But there are three problems with exceptional service that makes it an evil.
First, exceptional service is easily duplicated by the competition. If I’m your competitor and I hear about or witness a service you are providing, that I’m not, can I copy you? Sure I can. And now copying our competition is easier than ever, all I have to do is go to your website and surf around. And, an unexpected problem from being duplicated is that we are constantly raising our own bar. What are the services you are providing that your competition can easily duplicate?
Second, exceptional customer service can be expensive. Too many times companies feel they have to ‘giveaway’ products or services to make the customer whole. In truth, if we handle the issue quickly the customer will return with future business for us. We must remember to address the intellectual needs of the customer by fixing the problem and then their emotional needs by saying we’re sorry.
Third, exceptional service has a perception problem. I may perceive the service you provided for me as excellent but someone else may disagree. Or maybe I define great service as a knowledgeable service provider. But you think great service is a clean environment. If you focus your energies on one and not the other, someone is going to be disappointed. Try as we may, we can’t ‘reach’ everyone. We are always going to have critics, so why spend time and money on something that has a high percentage of missing the target?
Quality customer service is the avenue to follow when considering where to put your energy to keep the customers you have. If you would like to know the difference, send me an email for a gift of my 25 minute webinar recording giving you the details.