News & Opinions
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The Power of Superior Customer Service
Cynthia Henry / Hanley Wood Marketing / July 23, 2013
We all know what outstanding customer service isn’t:
An experience so bad that you are frustrated, possibly even screaming mad. An experience so bad you lose your temper and say things you didn’t intend to say to the person on the phone or behind the counter. You might even hop onto Facebook to complain to everyone you know about it.
And then what…?
Chances are high that you won’t work with that company or organization again.
Research tells us 86 percent of consumers have quit doing business with a company because of bad customer service. That’s up from 59 percent just four years ago, according to Harris Interactive’s Customer Experience Impact Report.
Customers are in control of purchasing decisions as never before. The wealth of information online allows buyers to quickly compare features and prices and customer reviews. Social media makes instant critics of us all. So the stakes for good customer service are higher than ever before.
Customer Service Infrastructure…Or Lack Thereof
While brands today have more tools and best practices to deliver superior customer service, bad things still happen every day. Many companies selling products online just don’t have the customer service infrastructure to deliver an optimal experience. Channels aren’t connected, and those gaps quickly show.
A quick example: I recently attempted to buy a purse online from a well-known company. I got all the way to the checkout process, and the site functions just stopped working. After 15 minutes of madly clicking away, trying to make something happen, I clicked on the “live help” button. Although the person on the other end was friendly and perky; he was also 100 percent clueless as to how he might be able to help (“Oh, I can’t solve online issues.”).
He encouraged me to “call Customer Service.” After I asked him for the number (please!), he directed me to an office that had closed 90 minutes previously. Once I finally got to one of the 24-hour customer service professionals, things got even worse. Not only was the representative unpleasant, she was no help. I finally gave up. No purse. And look; here I am, telling all of you about it (name withheld to protect the guilty).