Competition for Customer Service

Sitting on hold with AT&T and what I’ve really noticed is besides being on the phone with them for an hour is how customer service is handled.  They’ve done everything “right” however what’s interesting is to think about how the dialog has gone as it compares to all of my training via Vail/Northstar Ski School.

The key words I keep on hearing are “I’m Sorry”, “I apologize for that”, “It won’t let me do that”, “Please wait”, “So sorry about this”.  What’s interesting to compare and contrast is the mantra Northstar mantra of “Make the Customer Right”.  When I’m working with customers at Northstar my perspective is how can I help you have a better day.  Sure something has gone wrong, but lets figure out how to get past that point and move to someplace that you can feel good about your day.

Is this because one organization is focused on Net Promoter Scores, is it lack of choice in the phone marketplace?  Is it that they’re sitting in a call center and have dealt with thousands of customers on a day-by-day basis?  Or is it just training?

At Northstar we know you have a choice, we know that we want you back next year, we know we want you to bring your friends, or encourage them to take lessons (or anything else).  We want you to not be just satisfied but delighted.  AT&T on the other hand is just there to make sure you’re satisfied, which means that when I ask if I can have the shipping expedited you can only say “the system won’t let me do that”.

What does this mean to me, or to you the reader?  It’s easy to make the customer happy, it’s easy to delight a customer through interactions, make sure your employees are empowered to make it happen.