Customer Service

Ask someone for a story about customer service and it’s likely they’ll tell you about a negative customer serviceexperience.

For some reason, the times when a receptionist has been rude or a sales assistant has made us feel stupid really stick in our minds. Naturally, we all expect our own staff to give good customer service, and we would never want our patients to go away unhappy with their experience. But what if ‘good’ isn’t good enough?

The truth is that a business can live or die based on its customer service. Customers will readily share a bad experience – but it takes a truly outstanding one to make them tell their friends.

Look at the famous London store Harrods, with its worldwide reputation for high quality, expensive products. When most people visit for the first time, they expect it to be snooty: to be looked down on for being a tourist or not being able to afford everything in the shop. Yet the opposite is true. The sales assistants are keen to help, listening carefully and delivering service with a smile. Whether the customer buys something small just to get the famous Harrods bag, or wants to fill their larder with fantastic food from the delicatessen, they can expect the same high standards – and will pay a premium.

The key is in the Harrods customer service motto: “There are many different Harrods customers, but only one type of service… outstanding.”

Most companies have policies in place to guide their staff in certain situations. From customer complaints to lost paperwork, it’s likely you have instructed your employees about how they should react to particular incidents. However, what’s most telling is what happens when something happens which isn’t on that list. What if a patient has forgotten her purse? What if you notice her car is illegally parked and at risk of getting a ticket? Do you go out of your way to help?

It’s these situations that will reveal whether outstanding customer service is something you just put on your website, or it is at the heart of everything you do.

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