What's the worst customer service mistake that you've ever made?
Was it refusing to acknowledge that the customer was right (hint: the customer is always right)? Was it a failure to apologize for a mistake or, perhaps worse, issuing a back-handed apology for your wrong doings? Was it a failure to hire the right people or a failure to properly train your people to deliver exceptional customer service? Was it not putting enough emphasis on customer satisfaction?
The aforementioned customer mishaps, while certainly not intentional, can be forgiven if— and only if— the end product or service produced is exceptional. In other words, a customer may be willing to forgive poor customer service if the product that they're purchasing exceeds expectations.
And with the bar set high for the quality of consumer goods, you’ll have to be more than best in class. So while it's important for a business to have a great product, you’ll also want all of your teams—from manufacturing to customer support—to brush up on their customer service skills.
So with that being said, just what is the No. 1 thing that you need to get right in the customer experience? Order Fulfillment. Simply put, you need to remember that it's not what you do - it's how you do it. And this all starts with fulfillment and distribution. No, your fulfillment and distribution means are a far cry from being the most glamorous aspect of your company, but the importance of such operations cannot be underestimated. That's because it's this aspect of business that's responsible for short lead times, low costs, minimizing inventory on the warehouse floor and being the main point of contact for delivering your business message to your end users on a global scale.
Essentially, a good fulfillment and distribution plan should streamline the ordering and supply chain management of your business. It should be the foundation that you build your customer service upon. Think about it for a second. If your operations are running inefficiently, it's not only going to cost you more money out of your pocket, but there's likely to be delays in getting the end product to your clients. When there are delays and issues with this, your customer service representatives are likely to be fielding more calls from disgruntled clients. Conversely, if operations are running smoothly and efficiently - and the end product is still top of its line and high quality - then the opposite will occur. Instead of hearing from disgruntled customers, your business will likely be hearing from satisfied customers. And satisfied customers are the key to repeat business, referrals and, ideally, increased profits to further your company.
Yes, being capable of admitting a mistake and saying "I'm sorry" genuinely and sincerely is important. As is hiring the right people and giving them the right training to succeed in the customer service environment. Your company's vision, values and mission statement is also important - and we hope that it includes something about putting your employees and customers first.
But all of these customer service values originate from quality fulfillment and distribution operations - and the importance of such not only in regards to customer experience and service, but to your bottom line, cannot be underestimated. So while it's important to know the no-no's about what not to do in terms of customer service and customer satisfaction, a solid fulfillment and distribution center is something you can do - and do right now. And once you figure that out, everything else is likely to more easily fall into place.
So what's the biggest customer service mistake that you've ever made?
Don't make it a fulfillment and distribution team that's operating inefficiently.