Everyone knows what makes customer service good or bad. Everyone has experience being a customer, usually fairly often. We all talk to call centres, shop assistants, and sales reps. We complain about bad service (sometimes very loudly!) and return to the businesses that we like and make us feel good. If you don’t like your doctor, accountant or mechanic, you’ll go somewhere else. As a customer, you know what you like and don’t like. There is no ‘customer training’. Customers are people. Staff are people. People deal with each other all the time! Granted, some do it better than others. So why, if people are so good at being customers, are they so bad at serving customers?
Here’s the answer: they don’t want to. Yes, everyone knows that they should smile, listen to their customer, and serve them quickly and efficiently. The customer service provider knows exactly what will happen if they do or don’t provide good service, because they have been the customer many many times. They may have undertaken customer service training. Still, poor service is rife.
There are a number of reasons that someone doesn’t want to provide exceptional service. It’s not that they want to provide bad service, just that there’s no incentive to provide good service.
Reasons to deliver poor customer service:It’s easier – less effort and energy It’s what everyone else does (culture of poor service) There’s no recognition There’s no value in delivering good service Morale is low The staff member is miserable They’d rather be doing something else They don’t believe in their product or service They don’t know enough about their product or service
Reasons to deliver good customer service:It’s what everyone else does (culture of good service) Good service is recognised and acknowledged They take pride in their work They’re happy They believe in their product or service They’re in flow (see Flow at Work) They like their job They care about their customers
Customer service isn’t poor because people don’t have the skills. Customer service is poor because people don’t have the motivation, drive or desire to do better. This is much harder to achieve, but has much greater results. Instead of undertaking traditional customer service training, work on creating a workplace where people enjoy coming to work and want to do their best. Happy people are productive people.