The Power and Importance of Good Customer Care
Updated: Sep 27, 2020
A few years ago, while researching a pitch I came across a business article. The piece centred around Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 scandal in 2016, where devices were overheating and exploding due to a faulty battery design. One of Samsung’s Chief Officers was interviewed about the experience. For clarity, it cost Samsung approximately $5 billion in recalled devices and threatened to damage the company’s brand, reputation, and end users’ confidence in their devices.
It didn’t, only because of the way Samsung dealt with the problem. As the Chief Officer candidly explained, they had accepted full responsibility for the situation, made no scapegoats in an effort to exonerate them or deflect responsibility, and were completely transparent. Even if you were a user with a Galaxy Note 7, or using another Samsung device, you would have been sympathetic and understanding (assuming the recall and replacement process worked smoothly …). Compare this with the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal ...
As you might expect, Samsung remains competitive and has retained the confidence of their customer base. They have actually just released the Galaxy Note 20 and continue to challenge none other than Apple for supremacy of the Mobile market.
It reinforced the importance of transparency, honesty and loyalty to your customer base. Moments like these can have significant consequences and not taking your customers for granted is always the safest bet.
From reading about this event I coined the following phrase which has stuck with me since.
“A problem raised is not as important as the way it’s managed”
In another, unrelated example, a personal mobile phone destined for a family member went missing in transit. I sought to claim back (at least) the current value of the phone. What was powerfully interesting was my reaction to a letter received from the courier about the incident and how my frustration dissipated.
It was an excellently crafted response to my account of events, detailed and comprehensive, yet without offering what I was asking for. Here again there was full transparency of the events and actions that had been followed, sympathy for how I had been impacted, and care to find a solution I could accept. The result had not changed (I had still lost my phone), however I could see their position and without being forced, accepted their ‘gesture’ compensatory award.
No doubt you can think of examples in your life with similar or contrasting experiences, largely influenced by the way the specific issue was handled.
Customer Care is a craft in its own right and needs specific focus and attention if a business stands to thrive. It should form part of the DNA of any service structure and processes.
At its heart though is nothing more than being seen to do the best for your customer and making them feel like you have their back, consistently. A customer that feels like they’ve been prioritised, and treated with sincerity can only have positive consequences, the biggest of which is customer loyalty and retention, and even improved staff motivation and morale.
“Tug of War – Succeed or Fail together”
In another presentation my main theme centred around the activity tug of war. It focused on the “winning strategy”, in particular:
· How the positioning of all members holding the rope had a unique function, so the stronger members support the weaker, especially on irregular terrain.
· How they all needed to `tug` in union and uniform motions, working to move backwards in small steps to secure their balance.
· And how if one member lost their footing, the remaining members needed to work as a team to recover.
The analogy with a customer facing service team was apt. Every aspect of the service team had to work together to achieve the results sought, and if one area failed it could undermine and threaten the whole service delivery, relationship or perspective.
The core lesson is, ‘perception is reality’!
The greatest relationships I enjoyed with customers were not built on expertise in a particular subject area as much as consistent responsiveness, and the commitment and sincerity with which I approached all tasks. From this, trust and confidence in my organisation followed. The team around me embraced the same approach, with transformative results, reflected in accounts.
Indeed, the impact on business performance through effective Customer Care cannot be overstated.
So how can a service or product offering secure customer loyalty and the benefits this brings?
· Seek feedback at the point of delivery, not so much what you did right, but rather what you could have done better.
· Focus on the criticisms when dealing with an issue, and how to at least mitigate the impact for the customer as quickly as possible.
· Be as helpful as possible. It will also prove as the best lead generation … referrals.
And what factors do you need to consider to improve the quality of Customer Care? Is it the people, structure and processes, intra and inter business function cohesion, or leadership and culture within the business? I believe all these areas are equally important, and like trust, building customer confidence does not come overnight, but it can be achieved and there’s no better time to start than now.
I hope this resonates with you and the importance strong and trustful relationships have on a business' bottom line. If you would like support to strengthen your hold on your customer base and protect and grow the revenue it brings, contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.