How many times do you hear the phrases listed below? I've worked in customer service circles for over 25 years and never fail to chuckle when I hear these words. Let's explode these myths of of customer service.
1. "The customer is always right"
If they were we'd be out of business! Sometimes the customer has been mislead or misunderstood. So maybe the phrase should be: 'convincing the customer they were less right than they thought they were'!
2. "The customer is always a number 1 priority"
Of course your customer is a number 1 priority. In reality though, when you have too much work to do and several customers are asking for service all at once, something has to give. We have to prioritise and one customer will end up being ‘second best’ (not that we would spell it out to them. Imagine saying to a customer: “I’ll get around to you when I’ve finished dealing with a more important customer”!). Perhaps it’s about making them feel they are your number one priority.
3. "Service is all about being friendly and helpful"
Being friendly and helpful is a good disposition for all service jobs. However it may not be ‘all about’ this. It's also about the systems and processes that underpin our product/service delivery. As the Chief Executive of a leading multi-national communication company said: “The customer should be at the heart of everything we do”
4. "Complaints are the worst thing for this organisation"
Complaints are not the worst thing that can happen. It is true that complaints are negative and unwelcome. They create stress and bad feeling. However complaints are also an opportunity to put things right and learn for the future too. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft says: “complaining customers are our biggest source of learning”
However if the problem does get to complaint stage, the customer may have become entrenched and bitter. Could we have stopped dissatisfaction becoming a complaint? Could we have ‘nipped it in the bud’ at an earlier stage?
The 4 phrases are the 'window dressing' - great on posters and slogans. The reality can be somewhat different.