These days, we have always preferred to get what we pay for. We expect to pay a certain amount of money and receive a fantastic service; wherever the establishment. More and more companies are going that extra mile with their staff to encourage great customer service onto the consumers. As they say, a smile costs nothing and goes a long way. Is receiving good customer service that important to us or do we just not care? Do we take it for granted even?
I was in the Natwest bank earlier today and got greeted at the door by a well-attired member of staff. He looked enthusiastic, clean cut and professional. He had to be selling me something I didn’t want. I regarded him with suspicion immediately; ready to launch into my ‘Do I look old enough to afford a mortgage?!’ speech. Upon learning that this young man just wanted to assist me with my query, I felt a lot better talking to him. He went on to discuss my day, saying to my friend and I: ‘So how have you two lovely ladies been spending the day?’ I did cringe a little bit but decided to converse with him anyway, he seemed to spare the time of day for me. After all, I wasn’t going to contribute to any commission he may earn; I’m a student with a part-time job.
This encounter got me thinking. Is good customer service needed everywhere these days? But do we, as customers, even notice when that person in uniform is actually making an effort? I work in retail myself and know that you get some grateful souls and some downright nasties. However, displaying good customer service actually puts the staff in charge of us customers. We have a request, and it cannot be achieved without these people. As is quoted in Fight Club: ‘We cook your meals. We haul your trash. We connect your calls. We drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep. Do not f*** with us.‘ – There’s a lot of truth in this. If we mess with the people we want help from, then the only the opposite outcome can be achieved.
If you, like me, are on the other side of the counter however, there are some important things to know about providing good customer service. Nine times out of ten, customers aren’t buying products for the sake of it. They are buying into a solution to a problem, and behind their purchase somewhere is a need, a want – an emotion of some kind. Customers play off your good emotions, so if you’re miserable and slap that change into their hand, they’re not going to be happy. And they won’t come back. And, in turn- you will play off their bad mood. It’s a vicious and unnecessary circle.
Is it just negative customer service that consumers remember though? It is true that we tend to dwell on negative experiences much more than positive ones, and maybe this is why some people take good customer service for granted. It is what’s expected. It’s about exceeding those expectations that will really get you noticed with the public. Believe it or not however, when things do go wrong, customers do actually appreciate apologies. If your apology is sincere and polite, customers can turn that negative experience into a good one. Customers are individual people after all.