Improving Productivity with Customer Service

Posted By on August 5, 2009

Yesterday, I pulled into my car dealership’s express service to have my headlight bulb replaced. I walked in, and one of the employees stood in front of me, playing with his forms and clipboard. He mumbled, and I thought he was talking to himself like we all do. Then I realized that he was actually talking to me.

Once I settled in the waiting room, another woman sitting there began talking about the poor customer service she had received from the workers. She pointed to another woman who was so upset about the treatment she received from the workers. We all talked about the importance of having good customer service, particularly in these tough economic times.

The conversations in the waiting room made me think about my recent dealings with customer service with other companies. This summer I changed banks after months of having issues. This was a bank that received bailout money, but then turned around and charged fees and raised rates. I went to the bank and talked to a customer service rep. I explained everything that had happened and asked, “So is there a reason why I should remain a customer at this bank?” The guy shrugged and said, “I guess not.” Well, okay. I left the bank where I had been a customer for nearly 10 years.

Right now, I’m in the process of buying a house. I had a list of three mortgage companies, and I filled out the paperwork to pre-qualify with all three. I wondered how I would choose which company to go with, but the decision was easier to make than I thought. Two of the representatives gave me the pre-qualifying information, and I haven’t heard from them. The third person called and checked on me. Guess who I’m going with?

In these trying times, customer service is about relationships. People are choosy about where they’re going to spend their money, and they’re not going to spend money with someone who treats them poorly. It doesn’t take much of an effort to have good customer service, and most of the time, I can see in stores and companies that poor productivity and inefficiency usually leads to poor customer service.

It’s easy to have good customer service. All it would have taken at the dealership yesterday was for the service rep to walk up and say, “How can I help you this morning?” in a clear voice. There would have been no mumbling, no momentary confusion of realizing who he was actually talking to, and no one in the waiting area dishing the dirt on the service reps. When we’ve received bad treatment, all of us are too happy to tell everyone. We may not pass along all the raves about good customer service, but the bad service is shouted to the rafters.

These days, we should shout good customer service so others know about it. So let me pass along my recent experiences:

  • Chase Bank was great. A real person actually answered the phone when I called. Imagine!
  • Monica Gonzalez of Cornerstone Mortgage has been super duper nice and has gladly answered all of my questions about mortgages, escrows and financing.
  • Karl Opperman of Brick Master quickly and efficiently gave me an estimate on fixing loose bricks and explained the process to me. He talked to me like I was an intelligent person and didn’t do that, “well, little lady…” thing that some sales people do.
  • I met Chris Schilling of Zindler Realty on Twitter after I already hired a realtor, but regardless of that, he has been helpful, answered questions, and gave me good advice on the ins and outs of real estate.

Pass the word to friends and colleagues about good customer service!

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