It’s a hard fact. Most people are not experiencing great service. They are tolerating the service they get. According to a white paper produced by Salesforce.com, the world’s leader in sales and service support services, 1/3 of consumers believe that businesses are now paying less attention to good customer service. Sadly, only 7% of consumers polled say their experience typically exceeded their expectations.
Whenever there is a gap in expectations between service providers and consumers, there is opportunity.
So what do consumers- your patients- really want? According to this study they want four basic things; they want easy access to service on their terms, evidence that a business cares, first-time resolution when asked for assistance and they do not want unpleasant surprises.
Secret number #1- Aligning your service to your brand. It begins with having a clear brand promise and setting expectations. You have the right and should set boundaries on what you are and aren’t willing to do when it comes to customer service. As I often remind people-“the customer is always the customer, but they are not always right.” Once you have a clear definition, educate your customers so they can properly set their expectations for the kind of help and attention they are going to receive if they have an issue.
Secret number #2- Train everyone on service. Every employee that interacts with your consuming patient is representing the brand. Customer service needs to be consistent and fair across all departments. Arm your team with easy access to information so they can be efficient working with patients. Give them answers to common questions and empower them to take action.
Secret number #3- Always be improving employee morale. Happy employees deliver better customer service. Unhappy employees do the exact opposite, including failing to resolve customer issues satisfactorily. Once employees have been trained and empowered to deliver great service, follow up with support and positive feedback!
Secret number #4- Monitor customer interactions. People will only respect what you inspect. Do NOT “say it, train it and forget about it.” Make sure you know to what degree and how your customer service is being delivered, then measure it to success.
Secret number #5- Have customer metrics. Customer service has it’s foundations in the following areas; empathy, listening, knowledge, clarity, empowerment, prevention and emotional connection. Do you know who does a great job with all of these characteristics? Have you witnessed this being done with your patient interactions? If not, develop a plan and measure the metrics.
Finally, #6- Treat each customer as a media representative. The most effective and least expensive way to win new customers and retain current ones is by word of mouth. In the world of digital and social media, any patient armed with a smart phone may as well be working for the media. Make sure your managing the message going out of your office by managing the experience within your office.