The Importance of Excellent Customer Service

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Do you ever recall a time where you were so pleased at the service that was provided to you? That left you with a lasting impression? Or that you felt compelled to leave a comment, commendation for an employee, or you completed a survey because someone went above and beyond for you?

Let me take you back to 2015, when I decided to try a free 30 day trial for Amazon Prime as it was fairly new to me. Not that I was a fan of online shopping at the time, or had anything specific in mind to buy,  but hey it’s free I had nothing to lose.  As time went on I forgot about my Prime membership, and did not use it within the 30 days. I received an email from my financial institution about  a strange $80 charge from Amazon and if this was something I should be suspicious about as it did appear very randomly. I immediately called my credit card company to ensure  this was a legitimate charge. I then contacted Amazon who were very empathetic, patient & understanding and ensured they were going to help me. I expressed my frustration that I did not sign up for Prime and I was only on a trial, I felt that this was not authorized. After a very minimal hold, the representative acknowledged my concerns and informed that I contacted Amazon USA instead of Amazon Canada. Before getting more frustrated they went on to advise that they would contact Amazon Canada on my behalf and initiate a refund request with them so I would not have to repeat myself. I was transferred to Amazon Canada and my request was completed all within 5 minutes. They verified my information and informed that it would take a few business days to appear on my credit card. My story alone shows why Amazon is such a reputable company today, and I am proud to say I am now an active prime member.

What is Excellent Customer Service?

In my opinion excellent customer service is the heart of any business and it’s about meeting and exceeding customers expectations. Its about  how you make the overall customer experience, leaving them feeling valued and respected.

Why is Excellent Customer Service important?

It is important because it can:

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  • Increase customer loyalty
  • Increase your profits (how much each customer spends with your business)
  • Increase how often a customer buys from you
  • Generate more business by word of mouth

How do we deliver Excellent Customer Service?

There are many ways and strategies to deliver the best customer service. I have broken down a few with the 5 P’s:

  1. Prompt: quick response and speed is essential for great customer service. Especially when dealing with a time sensitive request.   Example: You wake up one morning with a flat tire and take it to the mechanic or local auto body shop to get it patched. 30 minutes later your tire is patched and you still made it to work on time.
  2. Personal: Knowing and understanding your customers wants and needs is also the best interaction with customers. Example: Starbucks writing your name on your cup while it’s being made.
  3. Perfect Problems: Even though there is no such thing as perfection, fixing your mistakes, taking full responsibility and transparency are essential. Example: When handling problems, complaints, issues or returns and ensuring the unsatisfied customer becomes satisfied.
  4. Pass/ Exceed Expectations: Going the extra mile will always leave a lasting impression. Example: Amazon USA contacted Amazon Canada on my behalf explained the situation and ensured I was refunded .
  5. Positive Experience/ Brand Promise: A customer is for life or long term. Example: I chose to continue using Amazon now in my future since I had such a  wonderful experience in my past with them. I am also a proud user of another Amazon product, Audible

Did you know?

As per Superoffice, Customer service has an impact on both existing customers and potential customers. A recent survey found that 68% of consumers would react by telling family and friends about a bad experience by posting it on a social network. It is also six times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing customer!

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Now that we know the importance of customer service lets look at the flip side. Do you ever recall a time that you experienced bad customer service or a generally horrible experience where it turned you off. How did this make you feel? Did it change your perspective on the business or company?  I am also not referring to ordering your regular coffee at Tim Horton’s and its not consistent everyday. I have 2 different experiences to share:

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One Saturday evening back in December 2018 my friend and I decided to grab Harvey’s before going home. We decided to order through the drive through as we had a long evening of Christmas shopping.  We ordered our meals separately in 2 bags,  2 original burgers for her and her husband and 2 original burgers for my mother and I.  After leaving the drive through I ensured my friend checked to make sure both orders were correct, as a customer it is very frustrating to find surprises after the fact.  I dropped my friend home and arrived home 15 minutes after purchasing the food. My mother opened her burger and I opened my mine, only to discover 2 dressed buns with no burger meat! I was in shock. Humiliated and disappointed as my mom was hungry. Her exact words ” didn’t you check the bag”. Of course I checked the bag, there were 2 burgers or at least wrapped buns which I assumed had burgers in them. In that moment I didn’t know how to feel. I was more than angry, frustrated and highly annoyed. I called Harvey’s and tried my best to bite my tongue and  control my temper in the most cool and collective way. Just like Amazon, they listened and understood and asked me to come back. Harvey’s did not refund my whole meal, but they did give me brand new buns and toppings, refunded me for half of my meal and gave me a free order of frings. Despite this being a fair offer, I still think I deserved a full refund. Coincidentally Harvey’s was the sponsor of my first soccer team I ever played for here in my home town Pickering Ontario.

Now lets look at experience # 2

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If you have ever worked in the corporate world, Christmas time is always favored by employees. When being an employee that’s part of a team, Secret Santa or Chris Kringle is usually favored. Since I was fairly new to my company I decided to participate as it was a $25 limit. I ended up picking a colleague who I knew better than others as we ate lunch together. I purchased her a Spa Gift Card from Shoppers Drug Mart. Something to keep in my of, is that I have been purchasing gift cards from shoppers drug for many years now. I attached the receipt in the card that was given to my colleague. Since we celebrated this early, my colleague informed that the gift card did not work. I immediately felt embarrassed and upset. How could that be possible? The receipt was attached. I felt that I needed to take full responsibility, and told my colleague I would handle this. I contacted Shoppers Drug Mart, made a trip back to the location I purchased the gift card from, only to be sent in  a loop of circles. An investigation had to be initiated with their head office who then contacts the supplier of the gift card merchant. The head office informed me this would take 10-15 business days which was well after Christmas and also would affect me as I was going on a cruise at the beginning of January. To make a long story short, after sending them pictures of the front and back of the gift card and receipts, they were unable to resolve the actual issue and offered to send me a $25 shoppers drug mart gift card almost a month after I brought this to their attention. Meanwhile my internet connection was not the best on my cruise so they did not receive my responses in a timely matter and closed the case. I did try to respond but never received a response back. Now even though I was out $25, Shoppers Drug Mart did not care to follow up with me. They now lost me as a loyal customer

Let’s relate both experiences to the 5 P’s,

StrategyHarvey’sShopper’s Drug Mart
PromptYes Harvey’s was very prompt in this matter once I contacted themNo not at all, I was sent in circles and then the wait time was after the fact
Personal They were not aware that they were my first sponsor or that they were my preferred burger spotI expressed to the representative on the phone and in person that I have been purchasing gift cards from them for years and on every occasion
Perfect ProblemsA partial refund and new food were both givenThey tried to offer me an insulting offer after an entire month of investigating
Pass/ Exceed ExpectationsDespite my expectations were all not exceeded, the customer service was still acceptableThey did not exceed any of my expectations
Positive Experience/ Brand PromiseIt was an overall positive experience and I have recently ordered from them againThis is overall one of my worst experiences as a customer

As you can see there are many different experiences when it comes to customer service. Customer service is a competitive advantage. Standing out and always striving to be the best is the key to keep your customer’s loyal and them to continuously interact with your brand. If you provide excellent customer service, you will not only retain your customers, but you will acquire your competitors’ as well.

Facebook: Customer service goes a long way. Click here to find out why!

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Twitter: Is customer service important?#ExcellentCustomerService#Deliveringcustomerservice

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References:

Superoffice.com. April 2020. Retrieved from https://www.superoffice.com/blog/five-ways-to-deliver-excellent-customer-service/

2 thoughts on “The Importance of Excellent Customer Service

  1. Hello Sara.
    I would like to start with this. You have formulated an incredibly designed blog. I was fully engaged and comprehensive during your transition from one point to the next. I as a Millenial, I am prone to choose the more forgiving route, as I have just come to expect customer service to disappoint me. Thinking about all of my poor experiences is one thing, but what I have noticed, as you pointed out beautifully, is that I am much more likely to be a loyal customer to a company that deals with my critiques or complaints in a timely fashion. It is almost automatic, It leaves you feeling valued and important. I think we SHOULD hold a standard for customer service. We should expect to be treated as Amazon treated you. We should expect to receive service as you did from Harvey’s. This has been a joy to read. Take care of yourself wherever you may be.

  2. I worked in retail for many years and worked for companies who thrived on customer service/experience. I remember the acronym LAIF well- Listen, Acknowledge, Inform & Follow up. I too have been the recipient of poor and excellent customer service. When I receive customer service that has gone above and beyond (out of the gate) I always make sure to reach out to their manager/corporate to recognize them. Right now we are in a time that all retail workers should be thanked for doing the job they are doing. I can’t imagine the fear that some of them are facing everyday when going into work.

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