When Service Quality is Not Job 1

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Should service be “job 1” at your company or should it be service impression? I purposely use the phrase service-level impression to make the point that what the customer experiences with your team is nothing more than an impression, and does not necessarily represent a markedly diff erent level of actual service or investment on your part.

Every company makes mistakes, but it is how you respond to them that often sets you on top with higher service-level impressions. The simplest of changes and low-cost investments can put your company in the very best light and leave the impression that no competitor’s service levels come close to yours.

What makes the best impressions on your customers? In most industries there are a few commonalities among customers as to what makes them feel well served. High in the priority list are things such as:

Prompt response to the first phone call about problems and requests, with little to no hold times, and always being able to reach a live support person, even if it is only the person at the front desk, directing the call.

Thoroughness in communication. Tell a customer specifically what he or she can expect, and, of course, under-promising and over-delivering when you can be confident of the response.

Frequency of communication. In some industries, we have seen the way a daily update call, for example, a report on the stage of repair of an item, or an explanation of the next effort to fix the problem is all that is needed to out-impress the competition, which may actually have speedier service or better quality.

Service promises and commitments. Making service-level promises or guarantees on response times, parts availability or what your company will do if a service promise can’t be kept can help to overcome a genuine gap between your service and competitors’.

Accessibility to the top. Customers are impressed by having the ability to reach the president of the company, or the plant manager, or some other high-ranking official, if a service problem reaches a disconcerting level. With some of our clients, we have actually printed the president’s or owner’s cell phone numbers onto service commitment marketing collateral. It is powerfully persuasive for a sales rep to say, “What other competitor is going to have enough confidence in their service to give the president’s cell phone number to every customer?”

You might have heard of the practice at high quality hotels of empowering all of their employees to spend up to $1,000 to help a customer or make a great impression. Establishing such dollar limits is something that most companies need to do, but the escalation strategy can go a step further.

A best practice in service excellence is to implore employees to deny (almost) no customer requests, to never tell a customer “no.” Whereas it might be feasible to never reject a customer return when you are selling shoes or clothing, the return of a $250,000 software implementation or piece of machinery is another matter. This strategy involves leveraging your company’s chain of command.

When a front-line service person can’t satisfy a customer’s request, the practice is to allow the customer to make his or her appeal to a higher authority. Determine the best chain of command to escalate such calls, as well as the appropriate maximum level of calls a customer might go through. The higher an issue is taken, usually the more adroit the manager who can address the concern and ameliorate the customer’s frustration.

The higher a customer concern goes, the more attention the root issue gets, preventing the issue from occurring again.

Prev 1 2 Next All

Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...

Related Articles

Comments (0) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

Declining Weigh Blending System

Ranco Declining Weigh (DW) is the standard in fertilizer blending because of the speed and accuracy of the blending process. ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form