Image for  "How you can offer better service"

How you can offer better service

We should all be able to offer better service than the following:

– There are a lot of calls right now, but your call is important to us and we will answer as soon as we can.

I sat there on the phone waiting for help with an insurance issue. I usually do most things directly via the computer and chat is a good tool, if you manage to get past the sometimes incredibly stupid bottoms. But sometimes you actually need to talk to a human being. Like, you know, like we used to do. In this case, it was also the case that the website was incredibly poor, making it impossible to resolve online.

“You have room… twelve…. in the queue”

The minutes passed. Five minutes, ten minutes, 15 minutes and even over 20 minutes. The response from customer service clocked in at 23 minutes.

– Hi, my name is Matts Rehnström and I have a question about our insurance, but first, I just need to tell you how disappointed I am to have to sit for 23 minutes waiting to talk to you.

– Hmmm, I know, we do our best.

– I’m sure you do, I continued, but surely it should be the case that you as a business should see the need to serve customers more quickly. Then I would have liked to do this myself if it could be done on the website. Someone responsible at your company should see this, I think?

When the person I was talking to realized that I was not annoyed with her but more understanding, while wishing for better service, it was like opening a floodgate.

– Yes, we know, and I want you to know how much we have told the management about it. But they are not listening. We are a company that they hire to work on customer service, but they laid off half the workforce last winter. So now there are only 40 of us left to take all the calls and chats. We can’t keep up!

After that, we had a long conversation about their situation where I was told that they needed help and who to call.

Thinking wrong if you want to offer better service to your customers

It made me think, once again, about the great misconception that exists in many businesses. It seems that the activities that are closest to those for whom the business exists, i.e. the customers, whatever they are called, are not the most important.

It’s nicer to be further away from customers. It is quite clear that taking care of your customers is not more important for your own business than even outsourcing it to someone else. It’s incredible.

The most important thing you have, the customers, you let someone else take care of. At the same time, there is a lot of pressure to be as lean as possible.

The woman I spoke to clearly had her loyalties with the company she works for, not the insurance company. It is also perfectly understandable. After all, that’s where her colleagues are and it’s on their own premises that they sit. They build their service company together, not the insurance company. If she doesn’t work with the insurance company, she might work with another client of the service company, to serve that client’s customer.

I believe that the activity of serving customers is something that should be strategically important. That’s where it gets serious. That’s where it happens.

Sitting in the office sending invoices or other administrative tasks is often not strategic. You can outsource that to others. But not the meeting with the customer.

It’s nicer to be further away from customers

Another part of the fallacy is that it is profitable for employees to get as far away from the customer as possible. Have you noticed that in most places, the further away you are, the more you get paid? If you do really well and get as far away from the customer as possible, right up to management level, then you are also the best paid.

Have you, like me, considered that many times those who work in customer service, for example, are incredibly young with a corresponding lack of professional experience. In some places, customer service is seen as a place of indulgence, a bit like working in a fast food restaurant.

You’re there for a while and you learn things and then you move on. Sometimes internally to some “fancier” job where you don’t serve the customer, and sometimes you leave for some other business.

I think this is a shame.

Who in your business can offer better service

Those who work closest to the customer should be the most highlighted. They are also the ones who should receive the best training to provide better service to your customers.

This applies to all customer-facing activities; healthcare professionals, home care workers, teachers, surveyors, salespeople, consultants, etc.

It reminds me of an old episode of the Twilight Zone series, where secretaries were the nicest thing you could be and how they were recognized at parties, in advertising, etc. The whole episode gave an alternative view of what it was like in a world where secretaries were the best of the best.

It should be the same for those who work with your customers. They should be the most appreciated by everyone in the whole business. Without them, no customers, no business.

This week’s task, if you want to participate, is to go to one or a group of the people who deal with your customers on a daily basis, whatever you call them, and tell them how much you appreciate them and how important you think they are to your business.

Good luck. Part two of the task will be to feedback to me with what reaction you got. I look forward to hearing from you.

Are you the one who works closest to the customer? Are you the one to offer better service to your customers? Reach out and show your pride in being one of the value creators in your business.