It may have escaped your attention but last week, we were voted Mimecast Customer Excellence Partner of the Year 2019. We won the same award a year earlier and we remain exceptionally proud and honoured to have been recognised in this way by the very people whose opinions on what we do all day mean the most – our customers and the businesses we work with. In this case, the lovely people at Mimecast.
It was an award that demonstrated our commitment to our customers. The people who enable us to keep the lights on and to do what we do.
Which led us to a question…
Good Customer Service Isn’t Rocket Science, Is It?
Of course it isn’t but for every good example of customer service you hear about, you’ll also hear three times as many bad examples (or twice as many, or nine times as many depending on what article you’re reading). Ultimately, those numbers are irrelevant.
We’ve all experienced bad customer service from a bank, an online retailer, an airline, restaurant or hotel and you’ll remember exactly who they were but the trouble is, even though companies say they pride themselves on providing excellent customer service (of course they would, who in their right mind is going to say the couldn’t care less about customer service), very few of them actually do. Worse, **SPOILER ALERT** most don’t care, or at least they don’t seem to.
But why, generally speaking, is customer service so poor?
First, can one reasonably expect relatively low-paid employees of multi-billion dollar corporations to care about someone screaming down the phone at them with a misplaced sense of entitlement and a first-world problem?
Secondly, and perhaps this is more of an issue with the companies themselves, they show very little loyalty to their employees so why should the employee pay it forward and show loyalty to customers?
Third, according to Rick Conlow writing for customerservicemanager.com (yes, really), ‘many companies and people don’t really value delivering better service. They do just enough to get by. They don’t get very good service as customers so why give it to others?’
The perfect example and one we can all relate to is when it’s car insurance renewal time. Last year’s premium was, say £450. Both you and the car are a year older, you’ve had no accidents or claims and your circumstances have remained exactly the same as they were a year ago, yet your premium is now £675. Why?
We all know that they basically rely on you being lazy. Ten minutes on a comparison site and you’ll be able to more or less price match, yet you go to the same company as a new customer and they’ll bend over backwards to hook you in. The insurance companies are OK with the attrition rate. They don’t care if you go because they’ll get the ones coming in from elsewhere.
It’s annoying but they don’t care. They’ll get their money one way or another. It’s all about the money.
Is It Really All About The Money?
For some yes, but you don’t win customer service awards if your sole focus is on how much you can get out of your clients without giving anything back.
It’s about defining the characteristics of value. For some it’s monetary – buy two tickets and get a third one free. Spend £50 and get £5 off. Have a free night with every ten nights you spend with us.
For others it’s more nuanced than that.
The key for a business like ours, in the lightning-quick industry we operate in, is to make sure we understand the needs of our customers. If we don’t we’re like the rest – taking their money and offering them very little in return.
In addition to understanding who they are, their business objectives (both now and in the future) and how they operate, our approach to interacting with them has to remain flexible.
Like bespoke software, there’s no off-the-shelf solution to customer service. By implementing a flexible approach, we have to, according to Experian, have ‘accurate data and having that data compiled so that you have a complete and robust view of each customer, plus the necessary tools and systems in place to implement your messages.’
Our role is to make sure that by doing the above, we can define value on our own terms. In the case of our customers, our value proposition is what we tell you on the Home page of our website –
By plugging into world-class cloud platforms we will make you way more secure, way more productive, way more efficient and way more profitable.
It’s about adding value, not sleepless nights.
Our definition of value is improving the journey and experience both for our customers and for theirs. We see and speak to our clients regularly. We ask them what they want and we refine our service based on what they say. It’s the only way we know how to operate and so far it seems to be working.
In the case of Mimecast, they protect businesses against spam viruses, malware and emerging threats. It safeguards communication, dramatically reduces risk and protects a business’s most critical asset – email.
If we can do that for our clients, their clients are safe in the knowledge that they can buy from them.
That’s the dictionary definition of a win-win.
And talking of winning, did we mention that we won an award last week…?
Contact us today on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7078 0789 and we’ll talk cloud security, cutting-edge IT solutions or what’s better, iOS or Android. Whatever you want.