Good, bad and indifferent

Most everything can be classified as good, bad or neither.  The same goes for customer service. However, only one type of customer service will impact your bottom line positively: good. Bad or indifferent customer service will hurt not only your bottom line, but your reputation as well.

We all have heard stories of  bad customer service. In fact,we follow customer service news from around the country, and there is a cable company that is always mentioned…for its bad customer service.  Subscribers often feel frustrated and unheeded. Studies have shown that this company holds a monopoly in certain areas, allowing it to charge higher fees and provide subpar service. This company provokes lots of rage in its customer base, and worse, has the image of being an uncaring company.

Indifferent customer service is when a company neither gives you good service or bad service, but rather tends to ignore its customers. If you have a problem, they will take care of it, but they won’t do anything for you unless you contact them, even if you have been a long-time, loyal customer. Although this is not as negative as delivering bad service, it causes customers to question their loyalty to the company and to shop around.

Think about the last time you went to your primary care physician. If everything was fine, you probably didn’t hear from the office again. Perhaps, you needed some tests, so the office arranged them for you. But say you got a reminder card from the doctor’s office about scheduling your next visit, or better yet, an update about easy ways to stay healthy or some information on a virus that has been making the rounds. Proactive actions from your doctor’s office would reinforce your  perception that the doctor is concerned about your health, right?

Good customer service is always remembered, and always casts a positive light on the company providing it.  Ron Costolino wrote an article in the Houston Chronicle whose title says it all: “First-rate customer service truly stands out.” This article is worth reading. Among the many insights Costolino relays about providing top-notch customer service are these:

  • Personalize customer service to get repeat business
  • Give customers more than the paid for
  • Anticipate customers’ needs
  • Deliver what you promise
  • Listen to your customer

It is probably harder to deliver first rate customer service, because more effort is involved. However, the return on your investment is higher customer satisfaction, more return business and a better corporate image.

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