Politics & Your Customer

The political season is upon us!  And, with a presidential debate every few days, candidates are getting plenty of opportunities to utter misspoken sound bites.  Under the pressure of cross examination and under the floodlight of the electorate’s pursuit of a secular messiah, perfection seems to have become the standard.  The winner is often less about the wisest debater and more about who did not make a mistake.  So, we get to hear a lot of Monday morning commentary on “what I really meant by that.”

Customers today are more powerful than ever!  And they base the majority of their decision on where to spend their hard earned dollars on the customer service experiences they receive!  Over 1/3 of customers say that experience is their top priority in choosing providers over price, product or brand!  Here’s the BIG news – they are not just comparing us to people we directly compete with.  They are comparing us to places that deliver consistently great experiences across all aspects of their life.  They are building their personal customer experience yardstick if you will.  Their yardstick is based on their positively memorable experiences across all facets of their lives!

Delivering service today seems a lot like running for public office.  Customers are picky and fickle.  They demand nothing less than outstanding value.  They are well-informed about choices, smarter in choice-making, and selective in whom they elect to join.  And, with a myriad of choices, it only takes only a tiny hiccup to send them in hot pursuit of an alternative.  They not only show a lower tolerance for error, they will exit just on account of plain old indifferent service.  Perfection in service, just like perfection in debate, is impossible to sustain.  So, it requires a service provider that is quick to recognize they are being judged by customer perception and not by the facts.  Winning takes agility in spotting service issues and speed of recovery that fixes customer problems while repairing customer relationships.

Great service today also takes smart assessment of what customers really mean by their reproach or complaint.  It involves analyzing the trends of a service breakdown, not just the isolated incident.  It includes customer forensics on customers who left the fold to “vote” for another “candidate.”  Service is always delivered in stereo.  The results yield what customers say as well as what customers mean.  What steps are you taking to manage perceptions while repairing root causes?  Remember: service sounds bites are both signals and warnings.

© Chip Bell Group, 2023.  Courtesy of John R. Patterson (www.johnrpatterson.com).  Permission is given to download and distribute this article as long as it contains this copyright notice.