It’s more important than ever to provide excellent service. Competition is fierce, and in this economy, you can’t afford to lose customers. And because money is so tight, you can’t spoil every customer. Relax. Often, changing just a few little things can have a huge impact on customer perception. You’re probably doing a lot of things right already – you just need to highlight them to your customers. In other words, focus on your customers’ perception. Here are six common myths that might be keeping your organization from receiving the stellar customer satisfaction scores it deserves:
Myth No. 1 – Only ‘crabby’ customers fill out surveys.
You may think surveys are ineffective because customers only fill them out when they have a bone to pick, right? Wrong. Look at your data, and you’ll probably find that the majority of respondents were satisfied. Usually, less than 10 percent rank organizations poorly. But don’t focus your attention on that bottom 5 or 10 percent who rated your organization poorly. This 10 percent, which I call “crabby” customers, may have some legitimate concerns, but they’re determined to be dissatisfied. You’re better off increasing the satisfaction of customers who rated your organization “fair” and “good.”
Myth No. 2 – The data supports your current strategy, so don’t change.
Let’s take the story about a hospital that was struggling to improve its ratings on how often it was quiet at night?” After numerous decibel readings supported relatively low noise levels at night, the hospital decided not to make any changes. It was doing everything “right.” I advised them to lower its lights earlier in the evening – around 8 p.m. – instead of toward midnight. Three months later, the perception was that the unit was quieter. Did it make scientific sense? No. Did it work? Yes. Data can sometimes lead you astray. The focus on being right can keep you from considering what your customers really need.
Myth No. 3 – Telling people how long things will take is a bad idea.
Customers don’t always receive instant gratification. And when it comes to service, sometimes your customers have to wait. The fear is giving them that “estimated wait time.” Organizations that excel in customer satisfaction have learned how to set expectations they know they can exceed. It’s not that they have reduced wait times; it’s not that they’re perfect; and they definitely haven’t eradicated annoyances. They’ve simply learned to manage people’s expectations.
Myth No. 4 – You should never call attention to inconvenience.
When something is broken, inconvenient or unpleasant, the naturally inclination is to resist calling your customers’ attention to it. But let’s face it: Your customers are going to notice. If you ignore the bad stuff, they may even think you don’t care about their experience. But when you’re open about the inconvenience and tell them you’re working on it, people become more understanding. Their perception of how much your organization cares goes up.
Myth No. 5 – Service happens only once in a blue moon.
It’s not that you believe wowing your customers is impossible, you just assume it will take an exceptional, out-of-the-ordinary effort on your part to elicit that kind of response. So, most days, you aim for “adequate” instead of “amazing.” But service isn’t thrilling or sensational – it’s personal. And personal doesn’t have to be made of big, showy stuff. It’s easy to incorporate into everyday processes. Before you buy into a common assumption about what it takes to achieve customer satisfaction, take a few moments to consider how you’d feel if you were in your customers’ shoes. In most cases, you’ll probably find that improving perceptions won’t require you to move heaven and earth, though it might require some outside-the-box thinking and a willingness to engage with your customers on a personal level.
By: Liz Jazwiec
Liz Jazwiec is a nationally renowned speaker, strategist and consultant. She also is the author of several books, including “Service Excellence Is as Easy as PIE.”
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