See past CSC Edge issues here!
Recently I sent out two articles that dealt with both "Quality Standards," a Customer might use as a barometer to measure excellent or poor performance by a servicer, and "The Customer Checklist" which could be used internally to anticipate customer expectations that should be emphasized on every service call. I would like to thank those who took the time to send me their comments on both of these articles and would like to share some of those comments with you in this month's EDGE.
One very important response came from an Appliance CSC. It spoke to the unfortunate perception some customers have that a repair technician is just a handyman, and should charge accordingly. You know the perception, that technicians are just "swap and replace" people who happen to make house calls and there is no way to justify the hourly rate charged for their services. WOW! Is that a real world scenario! Customers have zero idea of the qualifications and training that walks in the door with a qualified technician or how complicated these products can be to repair. Our CSC made it clear that when he counseled a friend who had that perception it opened his eyes and he learned why the quoted hourly rate for a quality, trained technician is actually very reasonable. Where is your customer hearing that explanation?
A second comment came from one of our CSC Board Members who described many Internet and big box stores that are operating with very low, and seemingly unsustainable profit margins, possibly designed to just drive others out of the marketplace. This can build a customer mindset leading them to expect Cadillac Service, but they don’t expect to pay for it. They just shop around and find the lowest bidder. With some, the mindset is that they can aggressively shop for what they perceive to be the same service product and go with the lowest price expecting the same high quality from all. The point was made that many of these types of customers are more inexperienced in the real world of picking the right sales and service outlets and will perhaps learn over time by being educated or by making the wrong decisions a few times.
The third comment described placing an order late in the day with a medical supply company where an important device had to be rented for a recovering patient. The rental company utilized far exceeded expectations by delivering their product the next morning by a special carrier the company decided to use, despite the extra cost to them, in order to avoid the normal carrier's 2-day delivery schedule. They also supplied a video with instructions and return labels to use when the rental period was over. Obviously this company went way past expectations and gave this customer the Cadillac treatment we all want. Maybe this is normal practice in the medical supply market, but the customer will never forget that company and how they went the extra mile for their customer.
Last, but not least, was this comment: "Service is subjective" unlike buying a car or a television set. What the customer is left with is hopefully a repaired product, as expected. They also have the inconvenience of being without the use of that product, the money spent to complete the repair, and finally the impression left by the service technician and company. Not a lot of upside to that scenario other than, hopefully, a pleasant ending to a bad situation - delivering the best service call the customer has ever experienced.
Many say the proper handling of a customer problem is sometimes the best way to improve your customer image. The broken product is the problem. How do you take that opportunity and turn your subjective product offering into the objective reality of a happy, satisfied customer?
Author: Don Pierson, President