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Customer service: The four great myths

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Over the last ten years, customer service has at last become a major focus for many organisations, as they wake up to the fact that retaining customers can be just as, if not more, profitable than trying to win new ones. 

However, many myths still abound. Here are the four biggest myths around customer service.

Myth 1: No news is good news

I remember wanting to buy a cot mobile for a friend’s baby from a well-known store. As the last remaining one was on display, I decided to ask for a discount as it was clearly shop-soiled. The store manager, while dismantling the mobile from the cot replied ‘look, do you want this or not because I’m not prepared to give you any discount?’ 

Stunned by the response, perhaps not surprisingly I decided not to make a purchase. As I left the store I remarked to a friend ‘I’ve a good mind to write to the store’s head office and complain’. 

The question is, did I? The answer is no. Why not? Like thousands of other customers, my reasons were simple; hassle, inconvenience and would my complaint make any difference anyway? Therefore this organisation has remained oblivious to the poor service I received. However I have told many of my friends and never shopped at that store again. 

Although no organisation likes to receive complaints, at least by complaining a customer is giving you the opportunity to put things right. In fact, handling a customer complaint well can actually cement a greater loyalty from that customer in the future. 

Without clear communication and feedback we may be nearer to losing our customers than we realise. So beware of ‘nice customers’ who ever complain directly but tell their friends and never come back. No news is not necessarily good news.

Myth 2: Organisations know what customers want 

I spend a great deal of time in hotels and one of the things I usually enjoy is the great buffet breakfasts they provide. Recently, however, while staying in a hotel in London the attempts of the staff to provide what they considered great customer service left me disappointed. 

Despite all the food being laid out buffet style, I was told I could not help myself but a waiter would take my order. I much preferred to help myself but hotel staff insisted that a waiter would get my food for me. 

Far from listening to what I wanted, the hotel assumed they knew what great service was, but failed to find out the customer’s perspective on the matter. 

While we must always be exploring ways to improve customer service, it is important to remember that it is the customer’s perception of what great service looks like and not ours.

Read more tips about improving your customer service:

Myth 3: The customer is always right 

This may be contentious but actually the customer is not always right! On some occasions customers are arrogant, rude and even hostile – we all recognise this. 

However, they may not always be right, but they are always the customer. An organisation should do its utmost to help its customers – but not at any cost. 

Continue reading on page two…

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