Today I thought we’d give the serious ‘stuff’ a rest and just talk amongst ourselves – maybe with a little tongue in cheek. ‘Tis the Season and all!
Customer Satisfaction… Isn’t that why we do ISO in the first place? We want to produce a good quality product or service that will fulfill our customer’s needs and keep them coming back for more – Right?
Wrong – We’re in business to make money and don’t let anyone tell you differently –Bah Humbug! If we don’t make money,we don’t stay in business. And let’s face it we don’t really care if our customer is happy, we just want them to give us their money.
So we hook up with a Registrar (CB –Certification Body) who will get us going with ISO, so we can advertise to our customer that we really do care about them and we can ‘prove it.’ And, what does the CB do for us? They give us apiece of paper that we can dazzle our customer (or potential customer) with and say, “See – Ain’t we great?”
I’ve often said that, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, no matter how bad your product or service is, you too can get registered. It’s true! First of all, the Registration audit will be the easiest you’ll ever go through. The CB wants you to be registered; the auditor wants you to be registered… it’s their business – that’s what they do and you pay them for the privilege. Do they care about product quality? Nope! Do they even look? Nope! Not unless they suspect false advertising… But if you call it high-priced junk, you’re good to go for a year.
Look at it from the CB’s perspective -They want you to make money. OK, maybe they don’t care if you make money, so long as you keep paying them. Look at it from the auditor’s perspective – All s/he cares about is the free coffee and donuts you bribe them with when they get there, the Pizza and Beer at noon and whether there are records of your returns and maybe a few customer surveys you cherry-picked to show them, someone loves you.
Just think about all the mouths you are feeding: Your scheduler and their family, the auditor, their family and all the businesses they interact with; the rent-a-car company, the hotel, the restaurant, the airlines… Now don’t you feel good about yourself?
But, the bottom line is ISO doesn’t help you make a better product, nor does it help you interact with your customer. Those are things that have to come from the heart. You can’t buy it. If you don’t have it; a desire to ‘do the right thing,’ ISO doesn’t help you at all.
Which, by the way, is the reason those poor souls who bet their last ‘coppers’ on ISO certification, as a last ditch effort to save their businesses, crash and burn. Regrettably, their customers already went somewhere else and that’s why they’re in a pickle in the first place.
So let’s forget all about ISO and focus on our customer… and the business of getting them, keeping them and most of all, keeping them coming back for more.
Product quality is important but even the most demanding customer will forgive the occasional slip up as long as your Customer Service is strong,and there is a belief you will make things right.
And right means prompt replacement or credit no questions asked. The customer is always right – Right! Even when they’re wrong, they’re right!
Customers can be your best friend or your worst enemy. They might be singing your praises, writing you letters of adoration and telling all their friends and relations just how wonderful you, your staff and your products or services are or they may be silently smoldering, vowing never to ‘do that again’ and posting hate mail on social media. Keep an eye on Facebook! And remember, the angry customer is more likely to tell people about their awful experience than a happy customer singing praises.
Your job then is to make sure you understand your customers and make their experience with your company more pleasant than that of your competition if you want to keep them coming back. You will want to train your staff howto do their part to help enhance that customer experience. “So how do I do that?” you ask. Click the “Smile.”
The smile is where you can obtain your free copy of “Service with a Smile,” a Kilpatrick Group e-book, our Christmas present to you with thanks for your loyalty. “Service with a Smile” is a compilation of tips and tricks for dealing with your customers.
It will tell you how to give them the best post possible buying experience and / or resolve problems should they arise.
The Kilpatrick Group would like to thank all those who contributed to this customer service manual.
Until next time friends – Happy Holidays.