Have you ever expressed interest in a product online but were never contacted by the company?
I recently visited a website seeking a specialty product for recreational vehicles. (Since I travel a good deal by RV and am always looking for products that will make traveling easier or better in some way.) The website was very user-friendly, and I easily requested more information. I received an email indicating that all their products were sold through dealers, and a dealer in my area (without the name provided) would contact me soon.
As some of the readers of this blog know, I frequently travel by RV. Given that we have many clients scattered throughout North America, many in small, difficult-to-reach places, an RV makes a lot of sense. Plus, I get to travel in the company of my wife and, this trip, my dog (not sure how she likes it).
One of the things that happens when I travel by RV is life tends to slow down and I have more time to read articles and books I don’t normally read. On this trip, I have focused on news about innovative new products, specifically in fields that may be over saturated, or there is the feeling that there is no room to innovate. I want to highlight three that caught my attention.
In the past, I have written about the importance of consistency in delivering a great service experience. In my opinion, you will likely win at the service game if you deliver good, no great, customer service consistently (rather than having it great one time, average the next, and not-so-good the next time). I want to highlight a critical component of delivering consistently great customer service which is not taking loyal customers for granted.
I cannot say if customer service is, in general, improving or getting worse. The American Customer Satisfaction Index suggests that customer service improved until mid-2014 but has been trending downward since. It is probably growing in some industries and not in others. Personally, I am occasionally impressed with the service, but the service I receive is “adequate.” I give talks frequently, and I often start the presentation by asking who can recall a positively memorable service experience in the last few months. Typically, I will see a smattering of raised hands. If asked about unsatisfactory service experiences, the number of hands raised is usually far larger. Is Customer expectation changing or is consistency slipping?
I had the good fortune to speak at the annual MHEDA (Material Handling Equipment Dealers Association) Convention earlier this week. I want to share a few observations and things I learned:
Is your company missing opportunities by assuming “everything’s fine” with customers who rated their purchase or service experience a 9- or 10-out-of-10?
While all may indeed be well with many of your 9 and 10 customers, a surprising number of them may fall into the “great experience, but” category.
You receive a customer feedback survey and on the “likelihood to recommend,” question she responded with an “8”. In the NPS* scoring scheme, she is a passive customer. When the interviewer asked why she gave the rating, her response was “I do not score higher than that as there is always room for improvement” and the survey comments do not provide any clues about her rating.