Why customer service makes all the difference

You’ve heard it all before – customer service is important. But how important?

Having read this article about a great experience at the US’s Best Buy:

While the Internet has forever changed how we shop, not to mention changing the pricing landscape, there is still much to be said for shopping in a real store, talking with real people who are knowledgeable about the products they are selling, and completing a transaction right then and there.

I searched for some examples. Some great reviews for a winery in WA included:

We only went to {winery} on the recommendation of another winery employee to find some port . We got to there at 4.35pm, just after they had closed the till and cleaned up. The owner and a couple of staff were just settling down for a wind-down glass of red. Nonetheless the owner asked if we knew what we wanted and had cash, if so he would let us back in.

The owner then proceeded to let us sample his red wines and port and – oh my God – they were awesome and so, so superior. Between two families we ended up spending $150+ and were so grateful for the recommendation! We will certainly return.

But then the same winery receives this review from a visitor from around the same time:

My partner and I had heard good reviews and were very disappointed. The wine tasting was terrible with the woman going through the wines in no particular order other than which wine was closest to hand. We were rushed in and out of the cellar door. As for the food, we waiting close to an hour for it to come out of the kitchen and when it did it looked like frozed food from the supermarket that had been deep fried and put onto a plate. The whole experience was aweful! I do not recommend.

A consistent customer experience is key. Online reviews or personal recommendations are great for your business. But they also raise expectations. And if one customers has a different experience to what they expected, naturally they won’t return..and will probably tell as many people as they can!

In this tough market, great customer service can make all the difference. As Choice blogged:

You will hear corporate types talk about “unique selling points” or “points of difference”. This is a fairly simple concept – work out what you do well and what differentiates you from your competition and emphasise it.

So what does my bricks-and-mortar store have that the online equivalent does not? Point of sales service: expertise, suggestions, even the ability to pay with something other than a credit card.

A classic example of this is the book industry. Yes, there are external reasons why major bookstores are closing down including the emergence of digital technology but there is something really satisfying about asking the small, independent bookseller about suggestions for books for an aunt who likes Jodi Picoult but doesn’t like Alice Sebold. They nod assuredly, rub their chin then go through a series of books that you’re sure your aunt will love.

So how do we create a consistent experience that leaves customers feeling valued, helped and properly advised? What is the ideal experience you want your customers to have? Define it and then train your staff to deliver it.

Anyone else have any suggestions or examples of businesses doing it right?



2 thoughts on “Why customer service makes all the difference

  1. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing
    all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say superb blog!

  2. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the
    book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive
    the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is wonderful blog.
    A great read. I will definitely be back.

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