Welcome to the Monthly Mash, a mashup of tools, tales and tips on customer service and the customer experience from around the blogosphere.
Volume 19: May 2013
Thoughts on the Customer: When Self Service is Great Service
No customer is the same, and each customer has different desires and expectations depending on the environment.
Do you choose the staffed checkout line or the self-checkout line at the store? Does it depend on which store you are at? On what you have in your cart?
When you need gas, would you rather have an attendant or pump it yourself?
It is tempting to always look at customer service as an endeavor where the more staff resources you can dedicate to a customer the better the service will be. However, Hero-ClassTM Customer Service is not about providing the most attention; it is about providing the correct amount of attention, and sometimes, that means no attention at all.
Many people today leave hurried lives. They want to pump their gas as quickly as possible, grab their weekend cash without waiting in a line, and check themselves out when they only have a few items.
Providing these low-service, no-service options is not only cost-effective and operationally prudent, but it can constitute great service. Of course, low-service, no service options that are created primarily as a cost-cutting measure are a different matter. However, if you are providing customers a low-touch choice that is there to support the desire for a low-touch experience, then you are providing your customers what they want.
As much as it might be difficult to accept, in certain circumstances our customers simply do not want us around. Knowing which experiences our customers want to have on their own is a crucial part of giving them what they want.
Sometimes the absence of service is the best service of all.
The Month in Customer Service Blogging
A collection of the best posts about customer service and the customer experience we read this past month.
- What a Small Town Mechanic Can Teach You About Customer Loyalty – This community did something amazing for a business that consistently provided great customer service.
- Four Reasons Why You Should be Thinking About Customer Journeys – A great case for why you should consider mapping your customers’ journey.
- How Stories Improve Sales and Customer Experience – Strong advice that can help you personalize and humanize interactions with your customers.
- 5 Types of Videos You Can Create for Your Customers – Great ways to enhance the customer experience through video.
- Creating Personal Connection in an Electronically Connected World – A great guide for companies or brands struggling to give their digital communication a personal touch.
- 5 Keys for Multi-Channel Customer Support – Best practices for quickly and successfully connecting with customers across channels.
- How You Make a Customer Smarter in 6 Seconds – Really smart (and fun) ways to provide free and useful content to your customers.
- Want to Experience Your Business As Others Do? Go Undercover. – Different ways to travel through your customers’ experiences.
- What a Great Homepage Does to Hook Customers – Tips on designing your company website when you only have a few seconds to impress a potential customer.
- Are You Born for Customer Service? – Maybe the best of the best are simply born with it, not trained for it.
- Support Hangout Episode #1 – Enjoyed having our post How Amazon Can Improve Its Rating System (and other interesting topics) discussed in this hangout of customer support professionals.
- Customer Signals for Adapting Experiences – In order to identify weaknesses in service delivery, listening to customers must be the first step to improvement.
- Do Your Customers Feel Ignored? – Important research on how customers feel when they are ignored by staff.
- People Don’t Mind If You Make a Mistake – They Mind If You Don’t Fix It – A strong case for making right with your customers in this recap of past (and public) service failures.
These two were posts highlighting tips from these authors’ books about Customer Service:
- How to Deal With Customer Service Successfully – Tips from Jeanne Bliss on how to get through the often messy web of customer service channels.
- 4 Sins That Turn Customers Off Instantly – Great tips from Lisa Ford for identifying and correcting these four customer service shortcomings.
Someone Was Listening
Sometimes the most popular post from the previous month; sometimes just the one I liked best.
Social media has undoubtedly changed the way many companies communicate; however, it is not a strategy by itself but merely an important component of a comprehensive marketing or customer service approach. In Social Media is a Channel Not a Strategy, we discuss how customer service and business fundamentals are still relevant despite the hype surrounding social media.