Customer Expectations Work Both Ways: Know When to Engage, and When to Step Back

Customer Service Articles

This week’s CX Beat post is in response to A Tricky Little Customer Service Secret: Wowing Customers Can Turn Them Off (If You Do It Wrong), by Micah Solomon.

No matter the industry, any time that frontline representatives are at work, they are learning how to deal with and manage customer expectations. While typically, the primary goal is to always deliver exceptional customer service, a truly skilled employee understands that there is a time to wow and a time to step back.

Dawn thinks…
“Wow” service is often misunderstood by companies who do not understand customer expectations. Micah does an awesome job of explaining how it can be misapplied. I completely agree that wow moments give you new and innovative ways to connect with customers and appreciate any company that does so in a way that is helpful to me. However, like Micah points out, it does come down to going beyond fulfilling basic customer expectations. I was once at a bank and they gave me the incorrect amount of cash back. After “discussing” it for about 30 minutes, the manager got involved and corrected the mistake. He then smiled proudly and said it was their goal to provide “wow customer service.” As Micah points out, “wow” cannot make up for operational errors and just because you say you do it, does not necessarily make it true.

Matt thinks…
Micah does a really great job of highlighting some of the subtle nuance that exists in the customer service industry. While it is always important to keep that “wow” experience in mind when dealing with customers, it is also important to recognize that sometimes a customer just wants to be left alone; to them, being able to navigate the store on their own and find what they are looking for without being hounded by an employee is a “wow” experience. Depending on the mood we are in, sometimes we want to be engaged in store and have a conversation with the employee, and other times we simply want to enjoy a solitary shopping experience knowing that the employee is there should we wish to engage with questions or comments. I think the biggest takeaway from Micah’s argument is that satisfying customer expectations does not always require a grand gesture, sometimes it is as simple as thanking them for their business or inviting them to come back in the future.

If we are to learn anything from Micah’s argument in this piece it is that a truly great customer service representative understands the nuance in dealing with customers. Sometimes a customer wants an extremely hands on and involved interaction and sometimes they wish to be left alone. Being able to deliver both with a positive attitude and knowledge of their product/service allows representatives to perform at the top of their game.

CX Beat is brought to you by Matt Searfoss and Dawn Kirspel of The Center For Client Retention. They have scoured the web tirelessly for relevant articles and cute raccoon videos to share with you. Care to join the conversation?

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  1. Hi Matt, Dawn – I saw Micah’s piece as well and agree it is about putting the customer first. Value their time and get the basics right and they are then likely to stay loyal. It is about building a customer-centric culture across your organization – this blog post covers some great advice from Gartner about achieving this