Some time ago I had a dental problem and I needed surgery. The doctor who was to perform the operation phoned me at 9.00 pm on that day to see how I was doing. We talked for 15 minutes, discussing how I was feeling and what I should do if I felt unwell in the coming days.
Would you call this outstanding customer service? I felt that that she was focusing not just on my experience as a customer, but on caring about her patients. She was not simply providing a great service; she was caring.
She could have asked a nurse or her personal assistant to make the call, but she did it herself, in the evening, when all her work was done. One patient after another, and just one question: ‘How do you feel after your operation today?’
How often do we create a follow-up experience based on polite questions or predictable phone calls with no purpose at all?
Many emails or phone calls that claim to follow up a service or the sale of a product can’t really give you an answer if you have a problem or a concern.
The person who calls you after you’ve had your car repaired doesn’t have the information or the knowledge needed to answer a technical question. The person at the till who asks if you have found everything that you needed today is not prepared to handle any objections you might present her with. The train company that keeps sending you emails asking how your trip was when you never used the ticket is not making any effort to check who actually travelled on that train, and who did not.
How would it feel if the person who follows up is someone who knew what she was talking about – someone who could answer your questions and collect your feedback in a meaningful way? How would it feel if we asked people first if we could contact them later to ask about their experience of our products or services?
If you care about your customer, don’t ask questions you’re not ready to answer. Questions should be only asked if you are ready to go the extra mile. That’s more than customer care: it’s caring for your customer. It feels different.