Customer ServiceElite Agent

When service becomes overzealous

Have you ever devised a customer service process that irritated your customers more than delighted them? The key to success, says Sadhana Smiles, is to make sure that you understand that everyone is different, and adjust your processes accordingly.

Delivering that “blow away” client experience is what most businesses strive to do. We create processes that support this goal, train our teams on the concept, we create documents within departments that guarantee clients their money back if they feel we have got it wrong, train our teams on service delivery, and on and on it goes.

However, there are times when I feel that the whole concept of “customer service” has been completely overdone, and in many ways become an unemotional process itself.

Let me give you an example of this:

I recently bought an investment property off the plan in Melbourne. I told the real estate agent that I was happy for them to organise the solicitors plus some other complementary services.

I pay the deposit and a few days later, I get a call from the solicitors looking after the exchange, and they are sending me paper work to sign off. Tick the box on customer service.

Two days later, I get a call from a bank, saying they would like to talk to me about my loan to purchase the property. Firstly, I had not given permission for my details to be provided to anyone regarding a loan, and secondly, as I am not settling for two years I do not really need a loan right now! So I scratch my head, and think “hmmm, interesting”.

A week later, I start getting calls from a utility connection service about contacting them urgently “re a connection matter”. I ignore it at first thinking they have made a mistake, the calls turn into text messages two to three times a day.At this point, I call them, to be told the solicitors have given them my details regarding utility connections on a property I am yet to settle on. Never mind that the building has not even been constructed as yet! This is what I would describe as customer service gone mad!

Here is what I believe happened – the solicitors have designed a process that they believe is what their clients need but have probably forgotten some basics:

  • They did not really ask their clients what they wanted
  • They did not take into account every scenario and then build an appropriate process
  • They did not actually walk through each process from their clients prospective as an audit to experience the service they are trying to deliver

Customer service is about the delivery of excellence to the clients’ standards not the standards of the business. It is about going above and beyond and creating memorable experiences. But first, you must understand your customer, what are their needs right now, and then you fit your process and the service delivery around it.

It also about creating loyal fans! Understand that satisfied customers will take their business anywhere. You need to start thinking priceless loyalty.

And remember, one size does not fit all. We (customers) are all different, and we have different needs. Your challenge is to find out what it is and then deliver the “memorable experience” whether you are a real estate business or individual agent.

Lastly businesses spend a lot of money trying to find new customers – people who don’t know you, like you and are yet to build trust with you; and very little to keep those we already have. Perhaps we need to focus on reversing this, and understand the best investor is your customer.

Sadhana Smiles recently became the CEO of Harcourts NSW. She has held several senior positions with some of the sectors most significant organisations in Victoria and NSW. Sadhana has built a career upon strong leadership and driving businesses to becomemore engaged, connected, agile, resourceful, and memorable.

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