Customer Service is Simple
My belief is that customer service is simple. At least it is on the surface. It can be as simple as just being nice to a customer. Being nice, showing empathy, being sincere – these are some of the basics of customer service, and they seem pretty simple. Of course there is much more to delivering an amazing customer service experience than just being nice, but that’s a pretty good start.
So, let’s get back to the concept of simple. Changing a company’s culture is not easy, yet I preach the concept of Six Simple Steps to Creating a Customer-Focused Culture. Are they really simple steps? Yes, but that doesn’t mean they are easy.
Simple is about understanding: Being easy is about execution
While something as simple as being nice might be easy for some, there are concepts, strategies and tactics about customer service that are not.
One day I was presenting to a group of C-Suite executives. The topic was about the culture of the company, and I was covering the six simple steps mentioned above. After going through the six steps, one of the audience members raised his hand and asked, “How long will it take to implement these six steps in my company?”
I responded, “How many employees do you have?”
He said there were about 30,000 employees. I told him it could take four or five years, even longer.
He was shocked and said, “You said it was simple!”
And, I replied, “I did say it was simple, but I didn’t say it was easy. As a matter of fact, it is hard.”
I believe that most people know what customer service is. Some even say its common sense. People know what excellent – even outstanding – customer service is. That doesn’t mean they are capable of delivering it. Their personalities may not be in alignment with the company’s values and goals toward customer service. Maybe their jobs don’t typically require it (although I believe that just about everyone has at least internal customers that need to be serviced).
The companies that put forth the effort to be better than average or satisfactory win. They hire good people and train them well. As simple as that sounds, it does take effort; sometimes lots of effort. Hey, if it was easy… everyone would be doing it!
Let’s really simplify this with a non-business example. Going on a diet is a perfect metaphor for the concept that simple isn’t easy. I decided that I wanted to lose five pounds. My wife offered up some simplistic advice and said, “That’s easy. Just stop eating so many desserts.” The problem is, it’s not easy. You see, I love desserts, but her advice makes sense. If I want to lose weight, just eat healthier. Simple! Then why is there a multi-billion dollar diet industry to help people lose weight? Because it’s not easy… Yet it sounds so simple!