Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Don't let your service levels drop

As the economy continues to struggle, those in the service sector need to remember that the customer service they provide can remain at a high level (or perhaps even improve). Of course a changing economy may hamper people's ability to offer services they may have done in better times. Indeed financial pressures will almost certainly encourage businesses to enforce contract terms more rigorously. This may prove a costly mistake for some, especially if the 'letter of the law' approach is combined with poor customer service.

Today I was involved in a car accident. Some guy decided to turn left without really checking to see if there was a car coming the other way and drove straight into me. To say that his insurance company were less than friendly when I called them would be an understatement. Now I know they are trying to limit their potential loss here but by being borderline rude they have ensured I will never use them for insurance. It costs nothing to be polite and to show that you understand the needs of the other person in a service situation, something this insurance agent has never been taught. So when clients come asking for the moon and want you to do the work for next to nothing please remember to listen and to empathize with their challenges. You shouldn't need to agree to requests that mean you would be giving your time for free at a time when you can least afford to do it. Equally you shouldn't leave them feeling like you were being rude to them. This isn't always easy, especially when clients are under pressure and are themselves being rude but it can be done and the PR people who can walk that line will do very well.

25 comments:

Todd Defren said...

Sorry to hear about your accident, Tim. Glad you are OK, and that the smash-up even inspired you. ;)

Tim Dyson, CEO of Next Fifteen said...

I'm now at the point where I'm amused by the insurance company I'm dealing with. It is as if they are trained to be rude. They don't seem to grasp the idea that I may be a potential customer. I checked online and found a string of people saying the same thing - namely that they are fine to their customers but rude to anyone making a claim against one of their customers. Crazy.

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