Review of HBR Article: Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers MY ARTICLE SUMMARY
Often, executives feel it’s critically important to delight your customers to improve customer service. By delighting your customers, or going above and beyond, you stand a better chance improving market share. These authors suggest if executives are interested in wowing their customers, they do some benchmarking to determine it’s effectiveness. Or better yet, maybe what executives really should be doing is determining what their customers want and delivering on that.
Essentially, when consumers call customer service, something is wrong. Often, these interactions are stressful and can be antagonistic. Companies already could be in an adversarial relationship. Often, the customer service interaction doesn’t help the situation. This is due to a variety of reasons and some of which is outside the control of the customer service area. According to the article, interactions with customer are 4 times more likely to lead to disloyal interactions.
Do clients want to be delighted in the customer service process? How important is that to them? Or do they just want some basic customer service etiquette including: not being treated like a number, having to repeat your situation over and over, being transferred from department to department or having to switch channels. In other words, how will a customer feel if they want to get their question answered through the website channel and because of some uncertainty, they are forced to call customer service?
Ironically, perhaps the best way to wow the consumer when it comes to being customer centric is to meet their expectation. Design the website in such a way that most visitors can easily find what they’re looking for. If the situation or interaction is complicated, solve the customer’s questions quickly and efficiency. Don’t make them have to call back a number of times, and get transferred where he/she has to repeat his information again and again. Thus, if the interaction to get your issue resolved is quick and painless, perhaps in some way, you are wowing many customers.
PERSONALITY APPROACH A mortgage company in the UK decided to implement the personality approach when dealing with customers over the phone. Even though they strive for consistency and provide reps with a checklist, it’s important to work with personalities of customers who call. It’s important to train all customer service reps to identify the personality of the caller.
For example, this mortgage company decided they didn’t want to treat everyone the same. In other words, the customer representatives would not follow a script or checklist when dealing with callers. Instead, they empowered their reps to customize their approach to callers. Listen for verbal cues, figure out which personality type you’re dealing with and handle accordingly.
For the Controller, be direct and let them know how you’re going to handle this situation. Be clear, confident and avoid any small talk. The Controller type likes to get to the bottom of things ASAP.
The second group is the Thinker or analytic. Essentially, they like to understand what happened. What was the root cause with this issue. They love details and understanding what really went wrong. It’s less important to be direct and more important to spend the necessary time with the Thinker.
The sensitive or feeling type is the 3rd category. Use empathy and concern. Don’t provide too many details but be sure to be understanding and engage the human element AMAP
Entertainer would be the last category when dealing with the Personality approach. They like to chat and have a friendly conversation. You can joke around with the Entertainer personality. Directness often will not work with this type.
For the most part, customers will need to call customer service for one reason or another. Often, they are upset or agitated. To help mitigate this, providing the representative with a more sophisticated and individualized approach can help them effectively deal with customers.
Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers
Harvard Business Review (July-August)
By Matthew Dixon, Karen Freeman and Nicholas Toman