According to a recent Gallup Poll, 93% of customer experiences are average or below average. Customer service is more difficult than ever before and customer expectations are at all-time highs.

Customer service used to be easy. A customer would call with simple questions. They would ask about store hours, an upcoming sale, or place a standard order. During these routine experiences everything goes smoothly, because it’s easy. In today’s technology-driven world these routine experiences are routed to the web. Customers now handle these simple inquiries on the internet. The web is our default medium. Customers call less and visit stores less frequently.

Representatives are left with the difficult customer situations. Phone lines are flooded with complaint calls from upset customers. The customer complaints include complex technical issues, product no-shows, and product-performance issues. These customer experiences are more difficult to handle and they require more skill.

Customer service is more difficult than ever before. For that reason you need a strategy. The three components of the 3C service strategy are Conscientiousness, Communication, and Courtesy. The 3C strategy is a three-legged stool; you need all components for the strategy to work.

Conscientiousness is doing what is right. Conscientious service means you are thorough and attentive to the customer. You do more than what is expected. Your goal is to thoroughly satisfy the customer’s needs.

Communicating the message properly is imperative. Communication is more than just speaking to the customer; it is listening to the customer. Communication is every way we send and receive a message. Your people, your products, and your company communicate a message. What are you communicating?

Courtesy is being polite, respectful, and polished. Courtesy appears to be on life-support. For some reason people are less courteous than ever before. This societal trend has spilled over to the business world. Common courtesy used to be the standard, now it is a rarity.

A two-legged stool will not stand. Neither will a two-legged customer service strategy. To exceed customer expectations you need all three. Conscientious service communicated properly, but delivered uncourteously, angers customers. Conscientious service delivered courteously, but improperly communicated, confuses customers. Courteous service communicated properly, but delivered unconscientiously, is just average.

Author byline: Paul Reilly

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