Is Guaranteed Customer Service Possible, Or
Is It A Pipedream?
In the course of researching a different subject,
I came across this exchange. The tone of the initial posting
really surprised me. Maybe we can't guarantee customer service,
but shouldn't that be our goal?
We all have experienced abominable customer
service similar to what Jeffrey Gitomer reports. We know it
exists. The question is, what can we do about it? Is there
anything we as managers can, or should, do to make sure our
organizations deliver excellent customer service? How can we
'guarantee customer satisfaction'?
Bill Marvin, The Restaurant Doctor, is one
person who really understands.He wrote an article on "How to
Improve Your Tips". It compares two options, increasing
production volume versus increasing 'profit' per transaction.
There are benefits to both approaches and, unfortunately, one
works better for some people than others. However, he clearly
stresses the value of the latter approach - build a relationship
with your customer. Understand what the customer wants. Focus on
what you can do to meet their wants, not on what you can't do.
In Terry Brock's excellent article It's not
about E-Commerce, it's about R-Commerce, he also stresses the
importance of relationships and lists five critical success
factors that can help you get more out of your customers instead
of worrying about your technology.
The reason customer satisfaction is so
important is because of it's impact on your bottom line. As
Debra Goldman points out "it leads to repeat business –
customers enjoying good quality and service enough to return
time and time again... Their loyalty will result in additional
spending, increased market-share through word-of-mouth
promotion, improved reputation, and increased profits. Since
satisfied customers are more likely to pay their invoices on
time, cash flow can be affected as well."
Of course, not everyone agrees that customer
satisfaction is essential. A Braun Consulting article,
Satisfaction: Guaranteed?, argues that "Companies may guarantee
the satisfaction of their customers, but that does not guarantee
that these customers will stick around or contribute positively
to the bottom line...Rather than focusing on measures of average
satisfaction, companies need to invest in building true customer
understanding and knowledge."
Customer satisfaction guarantees are not only
achievable, they are essential to creating the proper attitude
within a company. Unless an organization is prepared to
guarantee that its customers will be satisfied, that
organization will not put the policies and procedures in place,
will not empower the employees, will not reinforce the enabling
behaviors needed to make its customer the number one priority as
So, what do YOU think. Is it possible to guarantee customer
satisfaction or are we kidding ourselves? Even if we can't
guarantee it, shouldn't we set that as our goal so we have a
reasonable chance of coming close to it? Tell me, and the rest
of your peers, what you think.