Customer Care

Are you passionate about customer care?
A. Truth is, we pay ‘lip service’ to customer care’.
B. We appreciate how important customer care is, yet have no formal systems to deliver or measure care levels.
C. We are competent at delivering customer care.
D. We are competent at delivering and measuring customer care levels.
E. We are passionate about customer care and have excellent systems to deliver and measure it.
[Score:  A=0, B=1, C=2, D=3 and E=4]
Why is this question important?

There are 3 types of customers – dissatisfied, satisfied and delighted.

  1. The dissatisfied tell 10 others.
  2. The satisfied tell 5 others.
  3. The ’delighted’ tell 20 others.

It costs 6 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing customer.

In research conducted by the American Manufacturers Association it was discovered that 68% of customers leave because they were treated with indifference, disrespect, apathy or slipshod behaviour by employees of the business they dealt with.  (The good news is that because 68% of people leave through indifference, passionate customer care can make a real immediate enduring impact)

For all these reasons it is obvious that a passionate commitment to customer care is a most effective marketing tool.

Cycle of Service

A ‘cycle of service’ maps the key contact points (‘Moments of Truth’) between your business and your customer

Jan Carlson, president and CEO of Scandinavian Airline Systems (SAS) popularized the term “moment of truth.” In the case of SAS, moments of truth included the points at which a passenger made a reservation, checked into the airport, boarded the plane, retrieved luggage, or made contact with an SAS employee during the flight.  “Nothing is more fragile than the fleeting contact between a customer in the marketplace and an employee on the front lines. When you establish contact, that’s when you establish SAS.”  Jan Carlson

In one year, SAS carried 10,000,000 passengers, each of whom experienced an average of five encounters with SAS employees. The result: 50,000,000 “moments of truth” to meet, and if possible, exceed, passengers’ expectations for quality and service.

The moments of truth that occur in any business are crucial . Consider some of the critical ‘moments of truth’ that occur when a customer visits, for example a pharmacy …

  • Signage
  • Parking
  • Windows
  • Front door
  • The first 8 seconds (the smell, the feel, the look, the temperature, the sound …)
  • Merchandising
  • Sales person interface
  • Payment
  • ‘After the sale is over’ – follow-through service

In each case, the customers enduring  impression of your business is determined by how competent, caring, concerned, helpful, understanding and professional you and your staff were — not just on their first visit but every time the customer calls or visits your business.  Make sure you and your staff harvest your moments of truth wisely.

Having identified the ‘moments of truth’ for your business, it is then necessary to agree minimum standards of service for each respective ‘moments of truth’.

Handling Customer Complaints

Good businesses aim to keep their customers satisfied.  It is inevitable that at some stage a customer will complain. You should actively solicit customer complaints and deal with them positively and empathetically.

Benefits for your business include:

  • improved quality and service
  • fewer errors
  • better understanding of customers’ needs
  • enhanced customer loyalty
  • positive ‘word of mouth’ advertising from satisfied customers
  • reduced time and money spent attracting customers
  • improved business standing
  • higher profits

“Don’t push profits out the door”

Handle complaints successfully by:

  • agreeing a policy of welcoming customer complaints
  • implementing a system to handle complaints effectively
  • training staff to deal with complaints well
  • promptly dealing with any complaints
  • making it ‘easy’ for your customers to complain
  • regularly frequent analysis of  your complaints log