Making the Grade for Customer Experience

As a child, you learn from an early age that an “A” is target grade.

And while we all end up setting the bar for ourselves higher or lower, the A is the most coveted grade.

With enough A’s we can get ourselves into the best colleges, internships and careers.

Usually represented by greater than 90%, an A means you are getting less than 1 in 10 wrong. Regardless of what that 1 is.

In the world of technology, there is an A grade as well.

An “A” is reflected by the satisfaction of the customer.

More specifically for a service organization, an A is the only grade that will ensure you long term customers.

What they don’t teach you in school though is that the A grade in customer service isn’t 90%. It is 100%.

Nowadays anything less is becoming increasingly unacceptable.

So how do you make the grade in technology to deliver 100% customer satisfaction?

Especially in a world where change is the only constant and there isn’t enough hours in the day to train your team to fully support your last product let alone your next one.

But guess what, it doesn’t matter.

The expectations are there because if you don’t deliver the grade then someone else will.

That is the type of world we live in.

People want to be satisfied with real results. How they want them, when they want them with no waiting and certainly no excuses.

Guess what?

This desire is great in theory, but it is a disaster in practice.

The bottom line is there isn’t an organization out there that can deliver perfect experiences 100% of the time.

It simply isn’t realistic.

But the good organizations, the ones that become known for delivering world class service do something that other organizations do not.

They follow a path that doesn’t only solve most problems, but humanizes the entire experience of service.

Moreover the things they do aren’t rocket science, they aren’t even complicated. But they work, and when the grade is the only thing that counts for keeping customers, the fact that they work is what counts.

From my experience, this is what the great companies do to make the grade for customer experience;

First, they communicate.

And not only do they communicate often, but they communicate well and in a timely manner. Nobody wants to be waiting on hold when they have a problem to solve.

Secondly, after they communicate they empathize.

This isn’t because they feel obligated to, but because the genuinely care about your challenges as a customer and they want to understand how to make it better.

Next, they set the right expectations.

People can handle challenges and delays much better when expectations are set. Sometimes just knowing a problem or need is being attended to can put a company in a much better light. Further it amazes me how often this isn’t done well.

Finally, they meet the expectations.

Sounds easy enough, but it is easy to get bogged down or distracted or just forget to deliver on a promise. However meeting the expectation set is like your brand promise.

Even though people want things to work 100%, 100% of the time. Most (not all) people are realistic.

But once you fail to deliver on your brand promise it is very hard to regain the trust that was had and then lost.

The A grade for business may or may not be the same as the grade back in your school years.

But in today’s world companies that want to set the pace have to go for the “A” because anything less is merely an open door for the competition.

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  1. [...] the door on the holes created by the larger service providers is to make sure that you absolutely deliver what you say. Because nobody wants to do business with a smaller player that doesn’t meet their brand [...]