Customer Service – Make a positive impression

Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, MBA, MASCL

About a week ago, I post a message on one of the appliance merchant’s site to inquire about their program.  The next day I receive a response asking me some questions in order to address my needs.

The next day, I received a response regarding my inquiry and he also mention that I should reach out to the person at the branch to further my request.   I replied to his message and thanked him for his time, but at the same time I mentioned that he could have taken it to the next level by contacting the branch and clarifying the matter on behalf of the customer.    It was a perfect opportunity for him to make a great impression on the customer.

 

My perspective is that every touch point with our customer is an opportunity to make an impression.   When we make a good impression, the customer remembers that experience and it could provide a compelling reason to do business or continue to do business with us.    Therefore, we need to take advantage of each of the opportunities, akin to playing baseball (three tries before you lose your turn) that you want to do your best in each of your at bats.

Every company has to be known for something, some for best quality, best in innovation, best in price, or any other for that matter.   For example, your firm is second best in the quality category, but you have topnotch customer service.  In the end, you might be able slowly increase your market share because of your ability to serve your customer.   Let me reiterate that by no means do I promote that bad quality and excellent service will get you anywhere.    It is important that you have a good service or product in order for you to talk about customer service, because customer service alone is not going to get the job done.

Going back to my point on my e-mail exchange with the customer service person at this appliance merchant, he replied and explained to me why he did not reach out to the branch on my behalf.  According to him, he was avoiding confusion, as it already happened a couple times with them in the past.  Then he said the situation does put everyone in a tough situation.   Nonetheless I was impressed that he took the time to explain to me the situation rather than ignoring my response altogether.   He also apologized and explained that he wanted to avoid the message coming across as being rude.  As a customer, I was glad that he explained himself.  Because of the email exchange and my interaction with their branch folks, I’m leaning toward doing business with them

Tired of your job – Is it time to move on?

Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, MBA, MASCL

I recently spoke to someone whose son quit his job because he did not find it interesting.  According to the person, he did not like the progress he was making and didn’t feel the passion to keep doing the same job.   The question is: Is that reason good enough to drop everything and move on?

During the time he quit his job, he was convinced it was the right thing to do.    It has been over two months and he has not found any other opportunity and his cash is running low.    He’s feeling the pressure of the decision he made and wonders what he got himself into.    Life lessons often provide us with tough lessons that we can learn, but the experience is rather a painful one.

The question is: Is it right to quit your job without having another job?  My personal point is that you need to assess your personal situation and also the economic situation in general.    In this economic situation, is it best to stay at a job you don’t feel passionate about, but that gives you a steady income and stability, or do you seek what makes you tick?  If you leave your job without another job, you run the risk of being unemployed for an extended period of time.

My suggestion is staying put for the following reasons:

  • Reinvent yourself – you can always showcase other skills you have by volunteering on other projects.  It provides you with the opportunity to show you’re a team player and are maturing to accept new challenges.
  • Learn new things or attend a class – sometimes by attending classes, you can learn new skills that can help you to be more marketable.  Also, you might learn something that you can take back to your job and use this so your manager sees that you’re adding value to the firm.
  • Find the reason why you’re leaving – unless you know why you don’t like your job, you can’t just leave for the sake of leaving.  You need to be able to pinpoint the three things that make you hate your job.  Otherwise, you’ll be in the same stage again a few months down the road, except you’ll be working elsewhere.   You need to seek the reason for your dissatisfaction.
  • Seek your mentor’s help – sometimes asking someone’s perspective can help you see things differently.   Especially if you have an experience mentor to work with.

One has to take into consideration that grass is often greener on the other side.   It applies to jobs and also your lawn if you own a house.    From a certain vantage point, my lawn looks great, but as I drive closer, I see brown patches that make my smile turn to a frown.    I agree that you need to find your passion and do what you love, but you also need to summon your practical side and survey things before you jump to conclusions.   The best decisions are the ones that are made over time rather than one hastily made because of a knee-jerk decision.

Unless you find why things are broken, you are bound to repeat the same mistake, only that the view is different.   The cost of mistake later on in your career cost a lot more than mistakes incurred earlier in your career.     I say let the head do the thinking and keep your emotions in check.

Happy Customers and Angry Customers

Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, MBA, MASCL

Few weeks ago, my wife and I were discussing her experience with her Coach pocket book that she bought few months back.  The thread on the shoulder strap started to come off and she was deciding to send it back for repair.    My initial thought was this would be amazing if they would bother addressing a single incident.

A few weeks later, they sent my wife a letter indicating they could not fix the strap and so they were giving her a store credit because they were sorry that it did not meet their quality standards.  My wife was surprised that Coach had very good customer service.   As a happy customer, I use Social Media to let others know our customer experience.  Here is what I tweeted on May29th. “Love @Coach! My wife had a problem with her pocket book strap & since they can’t fix it, they gave my wife a store credit. Amazing customer service!”

Every time an employee of a company makes a contact with their customers, they need to make sure that it is a pleasant experience.   The touch point could provide the firm a lasting experience with the customers.  Happy customers have a tendency to go back and do business with your company.

On the flip side, angry customers are also an excellent source of customer feedback.   The company can take advantage of the opportunity to understand the situation and take care of the issue at hand.    There is a saying that negative news travels much faster than good news.  An angry customer is most likely to tell 10 of their friends than when they experience good news.    Therefore, the company has a golden opportunity to change an unhappy customer to a happy customer.

My point for this blog is that, when we interface with our customers, we always have an opportunity to impress our customer by showing them that we value their business.  To that end, we will do whatever is necessary to address their issue.  We will take ownership of the issue and see to it that it is addressed in a timely manner.

So, the next time you’re at the receiving end of a customer inquiry or complaint, imagine yourself being in the shoes of your customer.    Try to understand their concern and work with your team to address their issues and concerns.  Remember that a good customer always comes back and does more business with your company.  Who knows, as a side benefit, they could provide you with an excellent feedback that can help you advance your career.