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Customer Service

“The customer’s perception is your reality” © John Tschohl

It is the first article of the cycle dedicated to customer service. Here I will describe in general terms what it is and why it is important.

Companies that have a service strategy and structure are always more successful than any other company. Let’s see why it happens. What is customer service? In its true sense customer service is an attitude towards people. In other words, it is actually an ordinary humanly attitude. As you know, success in relationships is built bit by bit and at different levels of understanding. So, companies that try not only to satisfy the customer’s needs, but also to do it exquisitely, with understanding and love, make their customers regular. And companies that try to “do business” in order to earn as much as possible will lose in the future. Further on I will always get back to customer service; it is inextricably connected with online services, design, development, marketing, etc.

A symbol of quality service
A symbol of quality service

For several years I have lived in different countries and it allows me to see that the attitude begins with the mentality of people. In some countries people have such a mentality that humanly customer service will emerge in 100 years, if not later. And in other countries almost every company offers high-quality customer service.
It happens because the mentality of all people is the same in the national average. Attitude begins with the most basic and simple things: communication, patience, hard work, understanding, etc. So, if there is dirt, poverty and unemployment in the country, then there cannot be a convenient online service with tremendous customer service. Or if people are used to communicate with each other aggressively and in a boorish way, then the average customer service will be the same everywhere. You may think that these are some reflections on the topic of society research, but these are all roots that bring high-quality customer service.

 

High-quality customer service is a normal humanly attitude.

It is not VIP service for presidents and Arab sheiks; it’s a simple good attitude.

I will give some examples of a normal humanly attitude:

  • Convenient process of products or services ordering.
  • Friendly and prompt call centre employees ready to solve problems in non-standard situations.
  • Taking complex decisions by any company employee or EMPOWERMENT in one word.
  • Individual approach to families with children.
  • Convenient system of bonuses.
  • Compensation for mistakes.
  • Value of each client.

 

If you have an idea of an online shop, then an attitude to your customers begins when you choose the developer of this shop.

 

Unfortunately, a few companies offer such an attitude. You know this. But we continue cooperating with such companies.
I will give a few completely different examples from my experience, so that you can better understand the cause-and-effect relationships.

 

Personal examples and observations

Beautiful labyrinth
Beautiful labyrinth
Beautiful labyrinth

We all know a cool website called Behance. This is a great example of where you can see a lot of interfaces that are created for designers, not for ordinary people. Many cases on Behance that are top-ranked and have a high rating among designers are not launched at all in reality. No one uses them. Of course, there are projects that work on the Internet, but an ordinary person cannot use them. The target audience of such projects is represented by ordinary families, workers or pensioners. But developers and designers do not consider it. They are interested in trends and cool design to increase their rating, to exalt other designers. So, it is the way to create bad customer service at the design stage. Perhaps, the company has tremendous support or incredibly fast couriers. But, damn, it is absolutely unrealistic to use their website. Their virtual sales office is a labyrinth for an ordinary person. A beautiful labyrinth.

We have been living in the world of applications and automated services for a long time already, when it takes just an hour to order everything using a smartphone. And appear somewhere in Peru in 10 hours. Order food, a taxi, buy tickets and check in for the flight, go to the automated check-in counter, click the button on the phone and hand over the luggage. All services are automated and creators try to save time of their customers.

It’s amazing that such beautiful and user-unfriendly interfaces that take so much time to study them still exist. Beautiful labyrinths.

 

Online shopping
Online shopping
Online shopping

A couple of years ago my family upgraded all the equipment for work, laptops and accessories. Mvideo – one of TOP online shops in Russia – was chosen. I was able to quickly choose everything and place an order on their website, then pay by card. If only I knew what a mistake I made by not studying reviews about the shop. It is an excellent example of a convenient website and absolutely disgusting customer service at all other stages. A month later we flew to Spain. The website guaranteed us that we will receive everything in 3 days. In the end we received all the equipment 3 days BEFORE THE DEPARTURE. The company’s outsource call centre was terrible, they did not know anything at all and could make absolutely no decisions, could not help. They missed all deadlines and did not even apologize. Of course, we will never make an order there, or even recommend it to anybody.

It is an excellent example of terrible customer service. A user-friendly website and terrible everything else: delivery time, support, attitude.

 

Airlines
Airlines service
Airlines service

We fly a lot and I always pay attention to customer service provided by airline companies. The fact is that each airline company tries to stand out by its service and it is difficult not to pay attention to the details of their service.

  • With equal conditions of flying across Europe, I always choose a European airline company, and not a Russian one, at least for one simple reason – the weight of luggage and hand luggage. We travel as a family (2 adults and 2 children) and we, as you know, have many things. There is often excess luggage. And in most cases they in European companies and even low-cost airlines such as Ryanair (who earn money by preponderance) do not say a word, if we have 3-5kg excess luggage. On the contrary, Russian airline companies often force us to empty one suitcase into another. Of course, it happens not always. I consider my personal average statistics on flights.
  • There is a good Chinese airline Hainan Airlines in Asia. But all other things being equal, we will never fly with children on their planes. This company prohibits using electronic devices during the flight. It is a real problem for us, since we allow children to play phone games a little during the flight. It positively affects parents’ and all passengers’ nerves. In my opinion, it is not very clear why not to avoid disturbing the peace of mind of people in this way during the flight. Any airline company, any stewardess will do everything to ensure the piece of passengers’ mind, they know how important an individual attitude to children on board is. But in this case the Chinese carrier, apparently, does not understand regularities in cause-and-effect relationships.
  • Once we encountered an unprecedented attitude on the part of Vietnam Airlines. In brief, we arrived 3 hours before departure (from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang) and were late for the flight through the fault of the company’s employees. No one wanted to communicate with us and somehow help and the girl on the Gate grabbed the bag and ran away from us, because she knew that we would swear. This was our first trip to Vietnam and we immediately encountered such an attitude on the part of their national carrier. Most likely we will no longer use their services.
  • It’s amazing, but not every company gives priority to families with children. I always see at the airport that this is a real problem for many families, and usually there aren’t many of them. And it’s so easy to give priority at the airport and a special attitude in the plane, thereby increase the loyalty of families with children in the future.
  • Many airlines comply with GOST standards, according to which all employees work, and if there is a non-standard situation, then no one can do anything, thereby reducing customer loyalty. Once we flew to Moscow from hot Asia by Aeroflot. There was the only exit from the plane through a jet bridge (it was about zero degrees in it) and priority was given to business and premium class passengers. Some economy class passengers stood near the cold door in shorts and T-shirts. And even one pregnant woman. Flight attendants could not allow them to leave the plane because of airline company regulations. But it was made by one business class passenger, who gave way to economy class passengers, it was a normal humanly attitude.

 

Restaurant history
Restaurant history
Restaurant history

In restaurants we face a direct attitude of people. The human factor here plays a major role. We had a lot of examples, like everyone, when waiters forgot to bring something or were not polite. Anything can happen. Personally, my family and I do not visit such places again. But I want to give one example, when a food outlet made us regular customers. Once we walked into American restaurant Fosters in Benidorm, Spain. Our children were immediately presented a few gifts, and they stuck on them all day long. Everything was at a very high level. Food, service, attitude to children and understanding. It is this kind of service that makes people loyal customers.

 

Customer service through a website interface

Nowadays, any business has its own office on the Internet. Someone has a small office, and someone has a full-fledged online company. In general, of course, high-quality customer service is all the details that the client faces: the website, managers, delivery, notifications, etc. And the same principles are applied in real life. If the service does not look like a labyrinth, and communicates with us humanwise, when everything is clear on all levels and there is no feeling that they try to sell a pup, then these details determine our choice in favour of this service. And this is not the future, it is already reality that is happening now and will be developed. Only those companies are really successful that provide their services or sell goods with a humanwise attitude. And it does not depend on the environment, whether it is online or not.

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