Think Tank Thursday: What Makes Customer Service Good or Bad

Customer service guru Teresa Allen wrote this for her blog a while back but it remains just as relevant today as the day she wrote it.

“A customer service study by Dimensional Research pinpointed what makes customers of mid-sized companies happy and what leaves them in dismay

What made their customer service experience good:

  • Problem was resolved quickly
  • The contact person was nice
  • Problem was resolved without being passed around to multiple people
  • The outcome was what I had hoped for

What made their customer service experience bad:

  • I had to explain my problem to multiple people
  • Person was unpleasant
  • Took too long to resolve
  • Problem not resolved

What must we do based on these findings? I would suggest a few immediate actions:

Get customer service staff to act on problems quickly. The sundowner rule we learned for marriage applies equally to business. Fix it and fix it fast! Have a clearly defined time goal in minutes/hours on service problem resolution.

Hire nice people. How? Pay attention to the first 30 seconds of the interview. Do you immediately LIKE this person? If not, your customers probably won’t either!

Know how many steps a customer has to take to resolve a problem and minimize them. The less steps and people involved, the happier the customer.

Don’t just suggest a solution, ASK the customer what they consider to be a fair resolution. Their solution may cost you less and may be easier than what you would have offered otherwise. If you can’t do what they want, at least you know what direction to head for satisfaction.

Finally and possibly most important—ASK the customer if they are indeed satisfied. Assuming satisfaction is never a safe road.”

Teresa Allen is a highly acclaimed customer service speaker and is the author of Common Sense Service: Close Encounters on the Front Lines. Visit her website to find more ideas on building your customer service culture. To contact Teresa call 800-797-1580 or email: