I was recently watching reruns of on old sitcom where a woman was attracted to a man she was dating – in part – because he was so unpredictable. What was he going to say next? What was the next exciting thing he’d come up with for date night?!
But excitement in customer service is not always the best goal, especially if that excitement is a result of something unpredictable happening.
I’ve facilitated enough customer focus groups and read enough customer comments to know one thing about customer service – sometimes being boring is vital to customer service, and what’s more boring (but good!) than being predictable?
Remember that 40% of customer dissatisfaction is because the customer didn’t receive what they expected – the company overpromised or didn’t even do the bare minimum of what the customer expected. So you can eliminate the cause of a lot of dissatisfaction by doing what’s expected. Consider these boring-but-better predictable actions to boost your customer service:
- Instead of providing a wide window of time for a callback or site visit, give a narrow arrival window to set the expectation; then meet that expectation.
- ALWAYS respond to e-mails sent directly to you, even if all you say is “Thanks for the e-mail; I’ll review and reply back by X date – Please let me know if you need it sooner.” Become responsively predictable!
- Know what the company does to set expectations via letters, e-mails, marketing programs, sales offers, and web pages. Often companies note who will do what, in what timeframe, and in what way. To be predictable, we have to know what the customer expects based on these company proclamations.
- Document what you tell customers you’ll do and by when (do so on paper, in a follow-up e-mail, etc.); then do what you stated you’d do.
- If there are personal or corporate hours of operations, be clear on what they are so the customer knows your availability.
- Find a best practice process, and adhere to it; standard processes offer more predictable outcomes and timeframes than “everybody doing it their own way.”
Find ways to make your reality match the customer’s expectations.
Make “boring” a competitive advantage – become predictable with your customer service.