To determine the level of customer disservice provided by you and/or your organization, honestly evaluate how many of the following apply to your situation.
1. View customers as the enemy. Since they are the enemy approach and treat them in an adversarial manner. The goal is to get them before they get you. Remember that customers exist solely to make your life miserable. Life would be more peaceful and definitely less complicated if you did not have to deal with customers on a regular basis.
2. Ignore customer complaints. Customers love to complain and will do so at every opportunity. To deal with this “irritation” simply ignore them, and their complaining will quickly go away. Listening to continual complaining can give us a skewed perspective of your customers. If ignoring complaints does not eradicate them, try the following strategy. Blame the customers for the predicaments that they are currently experiencing and place the responsibility of solving their “issues” squarely on their shoulders. This will show them where the problems really reside and get you off the hook.
3. Quit treating customers as though they are always right. Everyone knows that it is not humanly possible to always be right. Customers are no exception to this rule. In fact, the kindest thing you can do is show customers when they are wrong so they can learn from their mistakes.
4. Arrange your staff schedules to suit your needs rather than those of your customers. Making shift changes during peak service times and allowing most of your staff to be away during the regular lunch hour only create minor inconveniences to customers. Why should you be bothered by customers who are insensitive to the needs of your organization? Customers would be better off planning their schedules around yours rather than around themselves. They should quit being so selfish and inconsiderate.
5. Design and install phone systems that drive customers crazy. Having fewer lines is always better and more cost efficient than having more lines. In the event of an upsurge in calls customers can at times be placed on hold (with the appropriate music, of course) to await their turn for service. If customers can’t wait, they can always call back during regular business hours. For those customers who have the tenacity to hold and get through, in the interest of your time efficiency, pass them electronically around various entities until they find the correct one to address their concern.
6. Don’t take any nonsense from customers. Put and keep them in their “place” and if they really get annoying, remind them that they have the choice of going elsewhere with their business. This will teach them not to mess with you.
7. Don’t waste time and other precious resources on trying to get customer feedback on the quality of your service. Such input is not really beneficial because customers do not really know what they need. You are in a better position to determine customer needs, hence the reason they came to you in the first place. In fact, you have your own quality experts who take care of such matters. Attempting to get customer feedback can undermine customers’ trust and confidence in your ability to best serve them.
8. Forget about developing “customer loyalty”. We all know that most customers are only loyal to themselves. They will do whatever is in their own best interest and there is nothing that we can do about that fact. If we lose a few customers it is not a big deal, we can always replace them with some of the many who we know are out there. As long as there is a need for the products or services that we provide, there will always be an abundance of customers at our doorsteps.
9. Stop trying to exceed customers’ expectations. This is a pipe dream and sets us up for failure. Why would you ever want to take someone to a place that they don’t even know exists? It is more respectful to give customers exactly what they requested and they will be forever grateful to us. Doing anything more could be viewed as our not trusting their judgment, or them not knowing what they needed.
10. Service after the initial sale is not our problem. Customers should remember that we are the agents/distributors and not the manufacturer of the products. Therefore, it is unfair for customers to hold us responsible in any way for any defective or malfunctioning products. The best that we can do in the event of problems is to refer customers to the manufacturer and allow them to deal with the problem. We must get customers to understand that it’s not our problem!
Score yourself and see how you did:
6 -10 – You are definitely delivering exceptional customer disservice.
3 – 5 – You are delivering good customer disservice.
< 2 – You are probably not delivering customer disservice.
H. Nathan Charles, Ph.D.