June 3, 2011
I stood in line at the grocery store behind a 5-year-old girl and her mother. As they approached the cashier, the little girl looked up at her mom and said, “Paper or plastic, Mommy?”
All of the customers, including me, cracked up laughing. But when the laughter subsided, I overheard a number of side conversations taking place. People began chatting with one another about their awful customer service experiences. The more they shared, the more annoyed they sounded.
That little comment from an innocent child was a reflection of a big problem I call “robotism.” Robotism occurs when customers are treated like numbers instead of human beings.
When evaluating the quality of your organization’s customer service, it’s important to focus considerable energy on the human side of the business. Look for ways to shift your service delivery from being task-oriented to relationship-oriented.
Task-oriented service focuses on getting the job done quickly and efficiently, “Thank you, have a nice day. Next!” But it does not add the human touch and does nothing to build positive, lasting relationships with your customers.
Because loyalty needs to be built one customer at a time, emphasis must to be placed on building rapport and trust through careful listening, empathy and personal touches such as using the customer’s name. It is the customer’s perception of his experience with your organization that can create or destroy loyalty. Evaluate the quality of service through the eyes of your customers.