have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary.”
So, what are the dimensions of outstanding customer service?
After scrutinising hundreds of chairs at a leading furniture store, I had selected one that agreed with my not-so-prefect back. Unfortunately, the chair that was delivered matched the specifications perfectly, but did not have quite the same feel. I contacted the store bracing myself for an extended and possibly unsavoury engagement. But I was pleasantly shocked when the store-owner personally came over, along with his technician, not once but twice, and provided me with the perfect solution. This experience was the epitome of exemplary customer service, embodying its multifarious dimensions, viz. listen and understand the customer’s needs, empathise, and go the extra mile to provide a quick and convenient solution. Research shows there’s an 82% chance of a disgruntled customer returning if the complaint is handled quickly and pleasantly.
Conversely, most of us have abundant anecdotes of encounters at banks, airlines and restaurants pointing to inordinate delays, sloppy service and incorrect or lack of information borne out of either indifference or incompetence of the service provider. PH Ravikumar, managing director, Money Matters, relates several experiences where the accomplishment of routine tasks like transitioning from one telecom service provider to another or timely delivery of a subscribed magazine entailed an escalation to a higher authority. Pratap G, senior director, Human Resources at Maersk Global Service Centres India, cites situations like HR adopting a rulebook approach instead of responding to the pain points of stakeholders, and training vendors selling standard solutions through a prescriptive rather than a diagnostic approach, being indicative of the lack of customer-centricity.
So, what is the reason for this indifference?
Lack of training: Conducting a training programme at one of the finest clubs in Pune, I was bowled over by its impressive infrastructure and ambience. However, the lacklustre and unimaginative service at a sit-down lunch during the break led to an inordinate time overrun, upsetting our entire schedule for the day. The root cause evidently lay not in a shortage of staff but in a flawed process and ineffective training. Ravikumar attributes the