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Customer Satisfaction--80% Of It Is Just Showing Up!

Dave Brock, Partners In EXCELLENCE

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Iím angry and frustrated!  Does anyone REALLY CARE about customer service and satisfaction?  Or do companies just mouth the words because itís fashionable, after all, who doesnít want to make their customers satisfied?  Who doesnít want to provide the best customer service available? 

Maybe I am cynical, but Iím starting to believe these words are meaningless.  Imagine this scenario:  I have called a supplier, I am trying to buy something from them.  I know what I need from them, I am satisfied with the price, and terms, I am ready to order.  I want to give them my money!!!  Sounds like an ideal situation for any supplier, doesnít it? 

But itís not that easy, I donít think they want my money.  At least they make it seem that way.  First, I wait on the telephone for my account manager for over 10 minutes.  Then I learn that my account manager has been laid off, cutbacks after all.  Then I am switched to no less than three people.  All I want to do is place an order.  Why are they making it so difficult for me to give them my money?!?!! 

Finally, itís done, the order is placed and I anxiously await delivery.  Guess what, it doesnít come when they said it would.  On further investigation, I get no satisfactory answers.  When I say that this will cause me to miss commitments I have made to my customers, no one seems to care.  Grudgingly, one customer service rep apologizes, but says that it is really my fault.  After all, I should have anticipated the company might miss their delivery dates and I should have ordered the product much earlier than I did. 

This scenario seems like an exaggeration.  I only wish it were, but increasingly, it seems to be the norm, both in business to business and consumer sales.  Suppliers constantly put barriers in the way of my ability to purchase.  Itís not just with me, we see this type of behavior everywhere.   

Try it yourself, look at your suppliers to see how easy it is to buy from them.  Better yet, look at your own organization, how easy do you make it for customers to buy from you?  Consider: 

Can current and potential customers easily find out where to buy?


  • Do customers know who to buy from and how to buy?  Do you inform customers of changes?  From a customer point of view, it should not involve detective work to figure out how to buy your products.

  • Do your business practices and processes make it easy to buy?  Are your people knowledgeable about your products and services, do they know how to accept orders, do they know how to answer customer questions?  Do they return phone calls on a timely basis? 

  • Are your customer facing people  (sales, customer service, etc.) eager to get new business and genuinely appreciative for the business?

  • Do your sales people align themselves with where the customer is in their buying process, or do they impose their selling process on the customer?

  • Do you meet your commitments in fulfilling the buying process?  I am not talking about exceeding customer expectations, I am just talking about meeting commitments!  Do you ship the right products, to the right location, meeting the delivery commitments?

  • Do you make the buying experience so delightful that customers are eager to buy again, when they have the need?  Or is it such a painful experience that they shop elsewhere?

  • What about customer service?  Do you have a company culture that genuinely values the customer and seeks to be responsive to them, or are customers those annoying people that interrupt your day?

  • Does every employee of your company genuinely know the only reason it exists is because of the customers?

Do some mystery shopping of your own company to test how easy it is to buy.  You may be surprised by your experience! 

Itís been a tough week for me.  As a consumer (business and personal), I have been trying to excel at my job, I have been trying to hold up my end of the economy.  Itís just that companies are making it so difficult for me to give them my money. 

There was a bright spot in this frustrating week.  The plumber came to fix the kitchen sink.  I happened to be home and spoke with him.  ďMark, what makes you different?Ē  I queried, ďYour customers are always delighted with your work.Ē 

The response, ďDave, over the years, Iíve discovered a secret.  80% of customer service is just showing up.  Even though I do great quality work, what matters most is just showing up.  Most of my competitors donít show up when they promise.Ē 

Unfortunately, this simple statement reflects much of the reality of customer satisfaction and service.  It is no longer about exceeding customer expectations.  Just showing up, or just meeting your commitments is 80% of the battle.  Too many companies do not meet this threshold.   

To those of you that show up, congratulations!  You have set yourselves apart from the norm.  Now, imagine the possibilities by excelling in the other 20% of customer service.  Quality products, services, delighted customers who want to do business with you again and again!  The growth possibilities are endless.   

Set a couple of simple goals for your organization:  Make it easy for your customers to buy from your company, and when customers buy, make sure you show up! 

We are interested in your buying experiences, both business and personal.  Please feel free to share them with us.  We will publish them, where possible.  We are interested in companies that do more than just show up!  How do they constantly demonstrate their value to their customers?  What about those nightmares?  Please share your stories by emailing them to customersat@excellenc.com.

Many of our training programs address these areas as well.  For information on the Dimensions Of EXCELLENCE training programs, follow the link.

2001 Partners In EXCELLENCE, All Rights Reserved.

Partners In EXCELLENCE supports its clients in achieving performance and organizational excellence.  We help our clients develop and implement high performance marketing, sales, distribution, and customer service strategies, maximizing their impact in achieving the desired business goals.  For more information, please contact us at info@excellenc.com, or by phone at (949)-706-1543.

Dave Brock is the founder and president of Partners In EXCELLENCE.  He can be reached at dabrock@excellenc.com.

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