Customer satisfaction requires more than satisfactory service
A traveler attempting to book a ticket by phone became frustrated after choosing from a menu of endless options then waiting on hold for twenty minutes before eventually being transferred twice, with the second time to a dial tone! When she called back, the first live person she connected with got an earful of her frustration about what had transpired and how poor the customer service was. The agent responded without hesitation stating, “Oh, well we’re not doing that anymore.” “Not doing what?” inquired the caller. “The customer service thing….we tried that before and it wasn’t working for us!” While the airline representative was undoubtedly joking in an effort to make light of a bad situation, his sarcasm is actually a serious assessment of the customer satisfaction attitude that transpires all too often.
From clusters of retail clerks engaging in personal conversation while a shopper waits patiently to be acknowledged, to grocery stores having only one register open at 5 p.m. on a weekday, customer satisfaction levels decrease while customer frustration levels increase. It’s become too common for an employee to respond to an inquiry from a customer as if their request is an imposition. As a result, potential buyers often feel compelled to apologize for the inconvenience their need for assistance has caused or ultimately determine their lack of need for that product or service at that time. It would be an eye-opening statistic to calculate the dollars in items discarded before check-out as a result of a customer’s perception of not being properly serviced.
While not the norm, a focus on the customer’s needs is refreshing as in the example of a salesperson searching for a non-essential item as if they were helping a parent find a lost child. Perhaps this kind of customer service is considered exceptional because it is more of the exception than the rule.
Ways to improve customer satisfaction:
It is probably true that common sense isn’t so common any more. In the context of customer satisfaction, that means that client service expectations need to be established and not assumed. As the world becomes increasingly more electronic, it is even more important that a focus on personalization is not deleted from ‘business to end-user’ relationships. Defining appropriate actions and attitudes will ensure a clear definition of what is and isn’t acceptable to protect the reputation of the company.