Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I Will Take an Order of Great Customer Service Please

I have been surprised over the last few months by several customer experiences that I have had. I wrote about one at the Tag Office that was a great experience, and quite frankly a huge surprise. It was refreshing. I would think that most companies during a recession would be in the business of hanging on to the customers they have. I believe this starts with hanging on to the high performing employees that you have.

Mike Haberman, at HR Observations wrote about, Employee Attitude or Management Attitude? or both? which I found to be very accurate with regards to Kroger vs. Publix as I have had a similar experience myself. He discusses how attitude affects the customer experience both from the employee and the manager. I believe it is both. I have been very frustrated by Comcast over the last 4 months regarding their absolute disregard for the customer. I got so upset I sent an email to Rick Germano, Their head of Customer Experience. See below for the email I received back:
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback regarding your experience with Comcast. Your feedback will assist us in our efforts to continually improve the Customer experience. To respond as quickly as possible, I have asked members of my leadership team to join me in addressing all "Ask Rick" messages.
Thank you for being a Comcast Customer. Regards, Rick Germano, Senior Vice President of Customer Operations
Now, that was exactly what I expected. But then about 15 or so minutes later his staff member called to discuss my problem and she did not even have my history in front of her. She did not have any clue why I was upset over the last four months. So, I ask myself what sets the truly exceptional customer experiences apart from the ones like Comcast? I believe it comes down to:
  • Customer loving employees with customer loving managers
  • Customer complaint resolution given to customer facing employees
  • Customer loyalty recognition
  • Customer feedback that is collected and acted upon
  • Service culture that puts the customer first
  • Management support
  • Effective and streamlined processes
  • Integrated technology that allows customer data to be accessed by those that need it
  • HR practices that reward, hire and retain those that understand the "service profit connection"
From a customer's perspective you can feel a "good experience" almost when you pick up a phone or walk through the door. I know when I go to Nordstrom's, it will be a great experience. My son had to have minor surgery at Wellstar Cobb hospital a few weeks ago. They understand every one of the bullet points above. I felt it when I walked up to register him for his surgery. In my own experience, Comcast does not have an integrated approach to customers and needs to work on the areas listed above to improve their experience. One day, they too will have competition and consumers will have a choice... How do your customers feel about your experience at their first touch point? Is your experience monitored and measured from first touch point to last? Are you a Nordstrom's or a Comcast?
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