Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What Great Customer Service is All About

The concept of “great customer service” has become an industry in and of itself. Nordstroms, Zappos, and Southwest Airlines have all built their brands on providing great customer service.
There are hundreds of books and thousands of blog posts written on the subject. And, there are even companies that will train your organization on how to provide the best customer experience.
But, at the end of the day, customer service is based on good ol’ common sense.
It’s about being helpful and nice to your customers. It’s about solving their problems when they are frustrated and offering support before they even realize they need it.

It’s treating people the way that you would like to be treated.

Unfortunately, we’ve all experienced horrible customer service. Each and every one of us has a story about a rude agent or an incredibly unhelpful store clerk.

It seems like nowadays great customer service is an an anomaly or a vague afterthought. That’s why when we do experience that rare moment of great customer service, it stands out in our minds.
Just the other day, my mom had a wonderful customer experience.

Here’s her customer experience story

“I left my purse on the floor of United Flight 1190 when I arrived in Sarasota traveling from Chicago.

I tried calling multiple people in multiple departments. With each phone call, I ended up in automated phone hell or spoke to a person who connected me back to automated phone hell.

Simultaneously, I filed a lost article report, and the next day the airline sent me an email saying my lost article was found!! Hurray!! The notice said, “Pick up your article at the Sarasota Airport and use this tracking number.” I went to the Sarasota airport (several times) and they had no idea where the lost article was and had never seen a notice like this.

I filed another lost article report. I explained that I had been told my purse was found but when I went to Sarasota airport, no one knew anything about it. I the received several more automated messages that said my article was still lost and I would be informed if it were found.

I flew back to Chicago on United Flight 1286 on October 11.

During the flight, I connected with Madrick, a friendly and helpful flight attendant.
Even though there was no reason for a flight attendant to help me with this problem or even know about the procedures, I decided to talk to Madrick.

I showed Madrick the email that stated my lost article had been found and told her what had happened since.

Immediately she sprung into action saying, “I’m going to get to the bottom of this.”

She was the first person from United who cared. Then Annie, another flight attendant entered the scene. After reviewing my messages from the airlines, Annie personally walked to Customer Service and explained the situation to them. She ended up standing in line with me for over 20 minutes.
Finally, we spoke to a Novadane Miller, the United Customer Service representative (and these people deal with complaints all day).

She went the extra mile and made several phone calls. We found out that, YES, my purse was at Chicago O’Hare and being held in the lost and found.

Hats off to these wonderful, kind and caring people. I so appreciate that there are folks like them to help forgetful people like me!

By the way, today I received another automated message from United saying that they are still looking for my lost article.”

The takeaway

You aren’t going to learn how to provide exceptional customer service through a manual.

When you help your customers solve a problem, they won’t forget you. In fact, they’ll become your biggest fans telling everyone they know about their interactions with you.

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