5 Flawed Service Principles
There are quite a few generally accepted service principles, many of which have become commonplace. Some have even been called ‘Golden Rules’ of service. But the substantial changes in customers’ attitudes to service that have taken place over the past few years have resulted in many of them becoming very tarnished or no longer worthwhile and in some cases absolutely wrong.
Here are my top 5 from the flawed category:
- The customer is always right.
No they are not - they are often wrong. So telling service providers that the customer is always right only serves to confuse them and suggests to them that you have no perception of how things are in the real world. It’s better to admit that customers are not always right and then work out how best to serve them when they do get things wrong.
- Treat customers the way you would like to be treated
Why would you do that? It assumes that all customers are like you and would therefore like exactly what you would. But that’s obviously wrong, so here again a dose of reality is needed which is that all customers are different and therefore likely to want different things. The right way is therefore to treat all customers the way they would like to be treated. But they all may want different things, so the challenge is to find ways to do that - and still make a profit.
- Always get things right first time
That’s a worthy goal, but it assumes that perfection is possible, which in service delivery is highly unlikely. Also, to become and remain the best at service needs continuous improvement. That means constantly trying out new things, finding the best ones, and then making them the new norm. Developing new things requires trial and error, with normally more error that success at the early stages of the trial. So if right first time is a rule, as its practically impossible to achieve, its highly unlikely that any new improved service delivery systems will ever be created. It’s far better to accept that things will always go wrong and develop techniques to ensure that customer loyalty doesn’t suffer when they do.
- Focus on fixing failures and weaknesses
There’s a common belief that the best way to improve is to focus on what’s going wrong or not working well, and fix it. It’s obviously logical and it does work, but not very well with service delivery. That’s because it generally takes a lot of effort to achieve very little gain and stopping being bad does not make you good, it just makes you not bad. A better way is to focus on what’s going right or working well, and build on it. That normally results in the same effort creating vastly better outcomes, especially in customer loyalty building, because it can move you from good to great in key areas of service delivery.
- The key to service success is great training
There’s nothing wrong with ensuring that service people get the best available training, but it’s not the key to success. That’s because by the time people need training they’re too far into the service delivery chain for it to make a worthwhile, sustainable difference. What matters more is to ensure you only train the right people. And that means that the recruitment and selection of those right people is what makes the difference and is a far more critical key to success than any training these people may later get.
So there you have it, my top 5 Flawed Service Principles. If you read some of the other papers on my website you find suggestions ways to ensure that what you do, and the principles you base it on, are the best ones for success.
© Copyright Chris Daffy 2014
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- 1/11/2016:Service Excellence + Technical Products
- 20/7/2016:The Challenge of Service Recovery
- 11/10/2016:The human touch