My Recent Customer Service Experience

There’s nothing like a bad customer service experience to remind you of how critical customer service can be to the success of an organization.

I recently tried to cancel a credit card I’d had for 38 years. The online cancellation seemed convenient, but more than a month after sending the request, I had yet to receive a cancellation confirmation. I decided to call customer service.

As my call was transferred to several representatives overseas, I was greeted by phone bank employees who were reading directly from the same script; I might as well have been talking to computers. Each time I was passed off, I was asked the exact same questions I’d answered moments before, and I was read the exact same disclosures. Four representatives and an hour and twenty minutes later, I learned my account had, in fact, already been closed when I made the initial request six weeks earlier.

This is the kind of customer service that can kill a business. After nearly four decades as a loyal customer, I was just a stranger on the phone. Not even one person was familiar with my history or knew my needs. The experience reminded me of the importance of being recognized, valued and heard on a local level. Protocols and processes are important, but companies need a local and personal touch point with customers in order to demonstrate that they are valued and known.

In the real estate business, we’re lucky to operate on a level that enables us to develop strong personal relationships with our clients. As a single point of local contact in their real estate transactions, we meet frequently as we guide them through the process. We know our customers, and having a deep understanding of who they are simplifies our interactions and leads to great customer service. But even for professionals who aren’t local, it’s possible – through Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM) – to offer a highly personalized customer service experience by ensuring what you know about your customer is remembered and can be shared and tailored to improve his or her interaction.

CRMs make great customer service even better by ensuring that all personal interactions are logged and tracked. It records preferences like when and how they like to be contacted and enables any employee – even upon a first meeting – to offer the personalized service customers want and deserve.

Ultimately, CRM improves the business process that helps you remember and serve your customers with the kind of personal interactions that are critical to developing ongoing relationships and happy customers, whether they’re in your backyard or halfway around the world.

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