On the other hand … customer service!

I was looking through some flagged posts that I haven’t really dealt with yet and came two posts talking about a more customer-centric approach to customer service (sounds a little silly when I put it like that – what I mean is letting customers drive your service rather than what you, as a provider, feel should drive your service for the customer’s benefit).  These posts take a different line to my previous post on this topic.

The first post is a post by Guy Kawasaki titled “The Art of Customer Service” which sets out some important guidelines.  Here is a summary of those guidelines:

1. Start at the top.

2. Put the customer in control.

3. Take responsibility for your shortcomings.

4. Don’t point the finger.

5. Don’t finger the pointer.

6. Don’t be paranoid.

7. Hire the right kind of people.

8. Under promise and over deliver.

9. Integrate customer service into the maintstream.

Christopher Carfi of the Social Customer emphasises number 2.  Here is what Kawasaki has to say under that item:

The best kind of customer service happens when management enables employees to put the customer in control. This require two leaps of faith: first, that management trusts customers not take advantage of the situation; second, that management trust employees with this empowerment. If you can make these leaps, then the quality of your customer service will zoom; if not, there is nothing more frustrating than companies copping the attitude that something is “against company policy.??

To me this is where it all comes back to the customer being right although in a slightly different sense.  As I understand this principle, this is more about the customer being right because you leave it up to the customer to determine the level of service he/she wants in tandem with your willingness to walk the extra mile if that is what the customer wants.  I think what I had a difficulty with is a customer demanding something that requires a sacrifice of what the provider stands for.  Perhaps the two approaches are not so far apart and what separates them is the difference between a mediocre provider and an excellent provider that practices real customer service?

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