Avoiding that sinking feeling
Younger members of the team of course took the whole experience in their stride, and through fearless trial and error (not to mention an innate hardwiring!) we quickly had a total role reversal putting aside pride to admit defeat and bare our ineptitude to ‘inexperienced’ colleagues.
In addition to having digital natives around, what got us through the week was the great customer service from our IT services company who, in my case, managed to answer daft questions with a straight face, resisting the temptation to make me feel as stupid as I felt. As a customer in need, I didn’t feel deserted, an inconvenience, or indeed that the burden of effort was on me.
This week’s online Real Business features an article from Charlie Mullins OBE, owner of the admired Pimlico Plumbers, pointing out that an early awareness of the importance of customer service is what catapulted his one man business to a renowned Ł30m brand.
He calls for a renewed focus on authentic customer service, pointing out that in the face of Brexit, the UK will have to ‘make’ its own way in the world; the words of Theresa May PM. Whilst many brands focus on closing the deal there must be a commensurate effort in servicing the deal and creating a culture of care.
Much of the debate about customer service is around transformation and new toys, and yes we need to evolve. But unless large organisations are relentless in leading by example in their ownership of problems, caring deeply about resolution, and of course their people, they will drive even greater wedges between them and customers and risk losing even more trust. There’s little point in declaring ‘customer first’ in an annual report if this is not believed by the colleagues who deal with the same customers.
In a sense this is an old agenda made more relevant than ever before, by the advent of numerous ways for customers to get in touch, yet providing a greater risk of alienation if contact strategies are ill thought out, unconnected and/or designed to suit internal processes rather than genuine need.
I’ve often said that our industry is a bit like the diet industry, it’s easier to focus on the latest new fad, buy the gear and develop numerous strategies, than to eat less and do what we know will get the desired results. Sometimes it just feels too hard. But it’s only by getting close to the issue, understanding it, embracing the challenge and enjoying the journey, will results take care of themselves.
By taking the latest diagnostic self-assessment challenge (weighing yourself in secret!) with the fad-free tried and trusted CCA Global Standard©, you can of course accelerate progress and avoid the pitfalls of going it alone!