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The Lesser of Two Customer Service Evils

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Which would you rather have: bad service or incompetent service?

Yikes – how about neither?

Customer service guru Shep Hyken recently wrote a great post on the difference between bad and incompetent service. You can read the full post here, but I’ve distilled the main points below.

What’s BAD customer service?

Essentially, bad customer service occurs when you’re forced to deal with someone you can’t stand. They may be rude, insincere (hello, evil grinning clown) or just plain unhelpful. Whatever form they take, it’s clear they don’t understand their job is to sincerely care for you, the customer – and the experience they deliver makes you want to never do business with the company again.

What’s INCOMPETENT customer service?

Someone who delivers incompetent customer service may very well be warm, friendly and patient – but when it comes to taking responsibility for service issues and – ya know – ACTUALLY RESOLVING THEM – they’re completely useless. As nice and engaging as the individual may be, they either aren’t properly trained for, or simply incapable of, delivering amazing service when mistakes happen.

Okay, so what’s the difference?

With bad service, you may actually get what you want in the end – but you’re left with a really bad taste in your mouth. With incompetent service, the representative’s attitude may be great, but their execution doesn’t meet your expectations.

Either way, you wind up with a lousy customer service experience that undermines your trust and erodes your confidence in the company.

Lessons for your staffing or recruiting firm

Ensure your customers are never forced to choose between the lesser of two evils:

  • Have the right intention and attitude. Remind everyone in your company that they should always have your customers’ satisfaction at heart. Make sure your staff knows how to deliver great service with a great attitude, every time (and if they’re not capable of doing that, they shouldn’t be dealing with customers).
  • Formally train customer-facing employees to provide shareworthy service. Develop formal policies for key service issues and opportunities, document them, and then train your team to deliver flawless service experiences that meet expectations and leave your customers smiling.
  • Back up your service with a rock-solid guarantee – to maintain trust and confidence in your firm, even when problems arise.
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