By Sid Chadwick – 10/18/19
Published in American Printer

When you reach for the stars, you may not get them…but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either”…Leo Burnett (…pioneer American advertising executive …developed what’s been called the “Chicago school of advertising.”)

INTRODUCTION:   

The title of today’s column…. is not recognized or acknowledged… for its importance…. by many in Customer Service and Receptionist Positions… or their organizations.  (That includes legacy airlines, technologists, and banks, as but examples.)

We have participants in our CEO Peer Group, and Plant Managers’ Peer Group — whose company is “exceptional” — from several perspectives.

customer serviceWhenever I call their office…. their primary Receptionist — we could all take lessons from.

  • Her voice, her diction…. is clear.
  • She does not rush her words…..each word is distinct….each is easily understood.
  • And… she listens carefully to what her caller says.
  • She works  immediately to find the party I’ve asked to speak to. She asks permission to….put me “on hold”…or… if I’d like her to page the person I’m calling… if I’d prefer to leave a voicemail message, or is there someone else I might talk to, etc., etc.

In other words, she’s a model of professional courtesy, and service.

  • Before she hands me off, she invites me to call back if I need anything else, and asks if she can do anything else for me.…
  • Her voice inflection says, unequivocally, that “she cares”…and is available to attend to what I need……I’m of the opinion… you can’t “fake that.”  (Had she chosen a different direction in her career, I’m of the opinion she  would have been an outstanding primary school teacher, or nurse.)

To me, she is “the face”….the voice”….the spirit”… of that organization….and because she’s there, her organization operates better …than their competitors……However….I’m also of the strong opinion that it’s “not just her.”

Is it any surprise…. to learn… that organization has over 20% compound growth, year after year…..for over a decade….?

We all create messages….communications….that go far beyond our words.

SUMMARY:

In recent Customer Surveys (really, since 2009)…. we see repeated requests…for “longer hours” …. of Customer Service.

Buyers are operating hours…. far beyond and outside 8:00 to 5:00. And like your paper suppliers, the company with extended hours — particularly at the end of the day…receives the extra orders….and without thinking about it much…..is who you call first (and not just after 5:00).

Should you decide to “measure the calls you receive after 5:00”…. you’ll want to “promote your Customer Service availability after 5:00”…and/or…before 8:00.”

And on that point, it’s not the calls and orders you receive in those extended hours that should be measured….but rather…the total business… and Referrals….those customers provide — throughout your year…..because of your “extended hours.”

Finally,  check your  “Voicemail System” (especially after hours).  About 1/3 of the companies we call — have Voicemail Systems that don’t work well, or correctly.  And as too many organizations are working with a “thin” Customer Service staff….too many calls are not being returned, or properly received….so they can be returned…..

Customer Service” — separates suppliers….

And at its best….. “Customer Service”… is an “organizational attitude.”

PS: the name of that outstanding company, with that outstanding Receptionist:  “SunDance Marketing Solutiions. Orlando, FL.

“To laugh often… and much…. to win the respect of intelligent people…and the affection of children….to earn the appreciation of honest critics… and endure the betrayal of false friends…. to appreciate beauty…to find the best in others….to leave the world a little better….whether by a healthy child… a garden patch…. or a redeemed social condition….to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived….This is the meaning of success.”…..………………….. Ralph Waldo Emerson

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