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The Mediocrity of Customer Service Expectations Vasudha Deming

I saw a blog post a few days ago titled "Unex­pect­edly Awe­some Cus­tomer Ser­vice from Brenthaven."

It got me think­ing in a new way about an old con­cept: cus­tomers' expec­ta­tions about the kind of ser­vice they'll receive from a given company.

As con­sumers, we've come to expect the qual­ity of prod­ucts to be truly out­stand­ing, but do any of us really antic­i­pate mind-blowing ser­vice when we call a cus­tomer ser­vice line? Cus­tomer ser­vice that makes us want to post a blog just so we can share our thrilling expe­ri­ence with the rest of the world?

First, it's only fair to give kudos to the com­pany that was the sub­ject of the afore­men­tioned lauda­tory blog post. The post didn't appear on the Bren­thaven web­site, but the com­pany site does have a Tes­ti­mo­ni­als page with more than 40 acco­lades from cus­tomers, so I got the feel­ing that this one blogger's expe­ri­ence wasn't an aberration.

How does your com­pany get there? Cer­tainly cus­tomer ser­vice train­ing fac­tors in, but that alone isn't enough. In my expe­ri­ence, customer-wowing ser­vice isn't the result of a top-down direc­tive. It results from a spur-of-the-moment deci­sion on the part of the employee deal­ing directly with the cus­tomer. In order for that to hap­pen, a com­pany needs a customer-facing team that's moti­vated, knowl­edge­able, cre­ative, wise, and discerning.

One of my favorite parts of Impact's Get­ting to the Heart of Cus­tomer Ser­vice course is when front-line cus­tomer ser­vice providers are asked what they would do if given carte blanche to serve customers.

Think about it. These employ­ees are in direct com­mu­ni­ca­tion with cus­tomers day in and day out. Doesn't it make sense that they might have some good insights about what cus­tomers really want — not just trans­ac­tion­ally but also emotionally?

So ask them. Uti­lize them. Empower them.

It could be awesome!

Vasudha leads the Per­for­mance Solu­tions Team at Impact Learn­ing Sys­tems, reg­u­larly work­ing with lead­ing com­pa­nies to improve per­for­mance of their customer-facing ser­vice, sup­port, and sales teams. She is a lead devel­oper of Impact's suite of train­ing courses and has authored four books, includ­ing the pop­u­lar Big Book of Cus­tomer Ser­vice Train­ing Games, all pub­lished by McGraw-Hill.
5 The Mediocrity of Customer Service Expectations
Vasudha Deming
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