By Shep Hyken
I was asked the same question three times in the last week: “What is the biggest opportunity in customer service?” If you had asked me this question a month ago – or asked it a month from now – there could be a different answer. But today’s answer is not just timely, but also timeless. And the answer is:
The Speed to Happiness
The meaning of this short answer is simple. If a customer has a problem, issue or question, the speed in which you move them from concerned or upset to happy could be the difference between the customer coming back or not. And when I refer to happiness, I’m not talking about utter delight or elation. I’m talking about a result that does three things:
- The customer’s problem, issue or question is resolved or answered.
- The interaction is managed quickly, efficiently and with as little friction as possible – ideally, without friction.
- The interaction is handled so well that the customer wouldn’t mind going through the process again if they had to.
Happiness leads to confidence
It’s the second point of this answer that is most important, and it is where some companies fail. How the interaction is managed ideally leads to the third result, which is the ultimate level of happiness in problem-solving. A better word for happiness could be confidence.
My definition of confidence in this situation is important. It’s more than just the confidence to continue doing business with the company after the interaction. It’s the confidence to enjoy doing business with the company.
There are certain companies that I dread calling for customer support. I know there will be long hold times and that after sharing my issue, I will probably be transferred at least once (probably more) to other people who are supposed to be better equipped to answer my question or resolve my problem. Then, there are companies that make it so easy to resolve an issue that I consider a support call part of the positive experience I have with them.
I’ve preached most of my career that resolving issues and managing complaints isn’t just about fixing problems. It’s about fixing the customer, which means restoring confidence. We want our customers to say, “I enjoy doing business with them. Even when there is a problem, I know they always take care of me, which is why … I’ll be back!”