Everybody is a Customer Service Provider
Everyone is a customer service provider: CEO, IT programmer, production, HR specialist, or waitress. In addition, the list includes fast food clerk, cook, lawyer, engineer, airline attendant, and hotel clerk. Furthermore, we cannot forget the bus driver, pastor, cashier, receptionist, sales rep, or district manager. Finally, let us add the parking lot attendant, bartender, government employee, factory worker, new or veteran employee and so on. This is the marketplace’s golden rule-no exceptions!
As soon as a company or organization begins to think they are an exception, customer service suffers. As soon as an employee believes he or she is not into customer service, the customer suffers. Your understanding of what this means begins in your perception of your job. This is a customer service challenge for all a company’s employees.
Imagine a World Without Customer Service Providers
Imagine a world without customer service. You wake up in the middle of the night because it is cold in your house. There is no heat. You grab you cell phone to call the energy company and the phone lines do not work. Both companies cut power to save money. There is no one to which you can call and complain.
On your way home you stop to get gas. It is a self-help station, of course. As you are dispensing gas, the mechanism does not quit when you try to stop, and gas begins spilling all over the ground. You run into the station for help and the store clerk begins yelling at you and says she is going to call the police. You must pay extra to leave.
Later, you stop at a restaurant for dinner. The hostess eyes you suspiciously, and says, “You better pay your bill. Now seat yourself.” You order something to drink and eat. When you drink arrives to not what ordered. The waitress never comes back, and you must wave down another one. She tells you to hang on. A few minutes later a man comes over your table and lays your overcooked dinner on the table and says, “No more complaints from you. Eat your meal, pay for it, and get out. If there is any trouble, (He pulls out gun.) I will hurt you.” Then he walks away.
Unimaginable? Without customer service customers are victims. Without customer service customers would revolt. Why spend money in places described above. It would be stupid. Companies that gave such service would soon be ridiculed by the media, sued by customers and governments, and shut down by the authorities.
The term customer service implies a level of support to customers who spend money. All jobs require customer service at four levels:
- Product: it needs to perform as advertised and promised and easily accessible online or in a building or both.
- Price: needs to be honored as advertised and promised.
- People: employees need to respond to customers in respectful and courteous manner.
- Process: the customer journey at all points of interaction
If the product or price is in question, the people-employees or customer service representatives- need to take care of the issue. If the customer needs help in selecting the product or products the people need to respond in support ways. A company today without good customer service is dead eventually. Employees who cannot deliver customer service are expendable. The better a company services customer the better it does. The better an employee understands these keys and serves customers the greater the chances for more pay and promotion. This is the prophecy for the future of companies and employees.
Research about the Bottom-line Impact of Customer Service Providers
Research continues to outline the benefits of the best customer service. For example, see this.
Businesses that have poorer ratings in customer service:
- Charge prices 98% of the competitors
- Lose 2% market share.
- Lose 1% profitability on sales.
- 8% average growth rates
Businesses with higher ratings in customer service:
- Charge prices 107% of the competitors
- Gain 6% market share.
- 12% profitability on sales
- 17% average growth rates
What does this mean for you? How serious are you about your career? There are approximately 157 million employees in the US and 3.5 billion in the world. Customer service is required in all the jobs. Some jobs require a focus on one of the above areas, for example delivering the product:
- Aircraft mechanic
- Technical illustrator
- Web developer
- Construction worker
These jobs may have little involvement or direct contact with the public or customers. But the quality of their work affects a company’s customer service to the customer. Poor quality means more complaints and less customer loyalty. Excellent quality means fewer complaints and greater customer loyalty. The car lines of Lincoln, Lexus and Toyota have set the standards here.
- Airline stewardess or steward
- Retail clerk
- Waitress or Waiter
Poor or crabby customer service drives people away. Friendly, courteous, and helpful service keeps customers coming back. Southwest Airlines has a stellar service reputation in the airline industry. Wegmans grocery chain and Apple set the standards based on customer surveys in the retail arena.
Two Important Roles for All Customer Service Providers
There are two roles all jobs fit into. The first role involves working directly with the external customer on the phone, online or in person. The second role means you support the people working in the first role to some degree. People in this second role often forget the impact they can have on the paying customer. Their customer is the “internal customer” or their fellow employee on the frontline. Subsequently, teamwork is essential to successful customer service from any company.
Think about it. If you are an account manager with a company always treat other managers or employees with disdain for their financial reporting errors, you are contributing to a poorer working atmosphere. This will lead to poorer customer service to the external customer. If you are a manager and treat employees like second class citizens, the employees will be dissatisfied at work and this will lead to poorer customer service.
Your understanding of the importance of customer service and role is crucial to your success as an employee. It does not matter if you are the President or management trainee or inventory stockroom clerk. Your results directly contribute to your company’s reputation and success every day winning and keeping customers.
Pulling It All Together
To be a superstar customer service person you will do job with care treating the external and internal customer with dignity respect and courtesy. You will also do a quality job in terms of the technical aspects of your job (data entry, correctness, completeness, quality etc.). Superstars excel in all aspects of what they do. If they do not know how to do something they learn and ask for help. Or they learn it on their own. Over time they consistently outperform everyone else. It is also prophetic of success or failure.
Superstars receive more compliments from customers, better job performance reviews and have more career advancement opportunities. Most make more money than their co-workers in similar jobs, too. They are confident and feel good about what they are doing. That is what you want too isn’t it? Plus, they know in their heart they are doing the right thing.
Do you want more success in life? See this complimentary guide and assessment on habits of successful people: Success Practices Assessment and Guidebook.
Also, do you want to become a customer service champion? See this book, Superstar Customer Service.
In addition, go here for our RealTime Learning & Training leadership and personal development website. Over 130 micro-learning and career advancement resources at your fingertips!
Finally, do you want to accelerate your leadership success? Go here for Rick’s Superstar Leadership eBook.