What comes to mind when you think about world class customer service?  For me the list includes attributes like this:

  • Easy to Use
  • Professional
  • Responsive
  • Timely
  • Fair
  • Knowledgeable

While these aspects are all true, the reality is much different.  Customers want what customers want.  (Sounds a little Zen, doesn’t it?)

And just like Willy Wonka’s Veruca Salt, they want it now!  The stark simplicity of this fact makes customer service such a challenging profession.

Customer Service Differs Between Companies – Dell customers expect a much different experience than Starbucks customers for example.

  • Over the course of several weeks you may come to know your local barista, but you may never meet the support engineer who fields your technical questions.
  • Product integration at Starbucks is whether you want a scone or a muffin with your latte.
  • Product integration at Dell may involve whether a firmware driver enables Wi-Fi communications.

Customer Service Differs Between Customers – As another example, consider that different customers of the same company have different benchmarks of world class.

  • Starbuck’s repeat customers may expect the server to remember their name and details of their lives.
  • A mother of young children may want the servers to be sensitive that little Johnny may not need a mid-morning sugar rush.
  • A business person new to the location may want the order to be filled fast.

Each of these customers holds different ideas of what world class is and the same holds true for our customers.  After all, customers want what customers want.

The pivot point is that because customers have different needs/goals our role in the customer service industry is to help our parent companies identify what those needs are and to provide for them in the best way possible.  Note that “best” doesn’t necessarily mean satisfying everyone all of the time.  But the further we are from that ideal, the closer we’ll be to Veruca Salt’s ultimatum which sounds a lot less Zen in your call center.

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