By Shep Hyken
One of our loyal subscribers, Warren Danziger, shared a story about how a delivery was made to his home and placed between the screen door and the front door.
The delivery person never knocked or rang the doorbell to inform him his delivery was there. He was waiting for the package, which contained medicine that was temperature-sensitive. Sitting outside in the heat, baking between the two doors, was not customer service… it was customer disservice. This phrase has no definition. It is not merely the opposite of customer service—that would be bad customer service. This scenario was more like “no customer service.”
In the absence of a formal definition, here’s my interpretation of customer disservice. Put simply, it is the missed opportunity to deliver an expected level of service. In other words, you could have done something to meet or even exceed the customer’s expectations, but failed to take advantage of the opportunity.
Let me share some examples to make this crystal clear.
A customer calls into a support center, and the agent notices something on their account that they could fix. But, because the agent is rushing to end the call as quickly as possible, they don’t ask the customer about it. As a result, they miss the opportunity to help the customer, who will be forced to call back in the future. The agent not taking that extra step is a disservice to the customer.
The sales rep that sells the customer what they ask for instead of what they really need is a perfect example of customer disservice.
A customer goes into a hardware store to buy paint for their home project and gets help from a salesperson. The salesperson could ask if the customer needs any brushes, drop cloths and more for the project, but just focuses on selling the customer the right paint instead. The customer gets home, realizes they forgot to buy paintbrushes and has to return to the store. The salesperson missed the opportunity to sell more to the customer the first time, causing inconvenience—not to mention frustration—for the customer. This is customer disservice.
Sometimes customer disservice happens because someone is taking a shortcut. Maybe they are in a hurry. Perhaps it’s a lack of training to focus on the details of what a customer really needs. The concept behind customer disservice is the missed opportunity. Sometimes this goes unnoticed. If it is noticed, it taints the experience—which could cause the customer to seek out a competitor next time. I think I speak for everyone when I say, “I hate when that happens!”