by Russ Peterson
& Kevin Karschnik
“There is only one
boss… the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the
chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” - Sam
We have all had a great
customer service experience, as well as a bad customer experience. If you think back on what made each of
those experiences either good or bad, we’ll bet that it can be summed up
in one word…”expectations.” When
we ask our workshop attendees what made those customer service
experiences so great…we get the same response 90% of the time…”they went
above and beyond.” While that may
be an acceptable answer, we always like to ask the student a follow up
question, “Above and beyond what?” After some intent thinking, the
response generally comes back…”they went above and beyond my expectations.”
The response is really no
different from our students when we are focusing on their negative
customer service experiences. The
customer was extremely dissatisfied because their expectations were not
being met. According to research,
in these cases of poor customer service, it will now take up to 12
positive experiences to make up for the one negative experience. These negative experiences can slowly
destroy an organization through customer attrition. In fact, according to The Gartner Group,
68% will eventually take their business elsewhere when they receive poor
Customer service, either
good or bad all revolves around one thing…Expectations! If you think about it, we’ll bet that
you have gone to see a movie in the past based on the reviews you had
heard from others. “That is the
funniest movie I have ever seen!
You HAVE to go see that movie!”
When your review comes in…you were less than impressed. How can two people have such differing
opinions? In some cases it is
nothing more than expectations.
The first movie-goer had either no or very low expectations. The second movie-goer was planning on
the funniest movie of all time.
Now that is a tough expectation to meet or beat!
So how do you deliver high
caliber customer service that creates passionate advocates for your
company? The answer lies in their
expectations! Deliver top notch
service to your customer that consistently meets or beats their
expectations. Studies show that
when you consistently beat your customer’s expectations by going “above
and beyond”, you will create not only loyal customers, but passionate
advocates (salespeople!) for your organization.
So the next question is,
“What makes up top notch service?”
Some may say, “I can’t define top quality service, but I know it
when I see it.” Based on his
research at Texas A&M University in 1994, Dr. Leonard Berry describes five main
service factors that contribute to customer satisfaction and loyalty.
These are the key expectations of a customer when they contact your
Why is top notch service so
important? Because it will
increase revenues while decreasing costs.
Those are two goals that every business executive loves to hear
about. The statistics behind
increasing revenues and decreasing costs with quality customer service
can be quite an eye opener.
§ It costs ten times as much to sell to a new
customer as opposed to an existing customer.
§ 7 of 10 customers who switch to the competition do
so because of poor service.
§ 96 percent of unhappy customers will go to your
competition and tell an average of 12 people.
§ Only 4 percent of unhappy customers will complain
and give you the chance to keep them.
§ Resolving a customer concern creates a more loyal
customer than if they had no problems.
§ Customers will spend a 15% percent premium for the
same product or service with better service.
In summary, your company’s
long term success will be dependent on your ability to deliver service
that meets and beats your customer’s expectations. Remember that Customer Service is a
philosophy, not a department, a program or a policy. It is a philosophy that must be
radiated by all members of an organization. By believing in the concept to
consistently meet or beat expectations, you can create not only loyal
customers, but passionate advocates that will happily sell for you by
telling others about their WOW! experience with you!
“When our customers rate us better or
worse than someone else, it’s never very scientific … but it is always
disastrous if you score low!” - Jack Welch
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