"Repel all Boarders" : how NOT to do Customer Service

This was the (sanitised summary) of a discussion I had with a friend recently about an organisation's customer service.


Customer Service (CS) staff are the organisation's front line for contact with customers. If a customer has one or more bad experiences with CS, then despite a company having an amazing product, the customer will become frustrated and eventually walk away. The worst case is that after walking away, the irate customer will tell people about it : even the media if they are so affronted.


Expectations of CS Staff

This is really basic stuff!!

  • Have good product knowledge

  • Have authority to resolve customer problems quickly and honestly

  • Be honest in dealing with customers - lieing to customers guaranteed to wind up your customer

  • Be willing and know when to escalate problems - escalation isn't failure for CS staff - its knowing that they are doing the right thing to resolve a problem. Toyota's LEAN production system gives line staff the authority to stop the line IMMEDIATELY they find a defect, thus saving money on later rework

How to spot a problem with CS

  • Meaningless job titles "Explorer", "Navigator". Sounds good, but what's the use of fancy shoes when you're running a marathon?

  • They are evasive dealing with customers: because they are either lacking authority, knowledge, personal skills to be effective in their roles.


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