Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Customer Service

I am currently on the tail end of a week-long trip at a client site deploying the business system for them. Everyone has been very happy so far w/ the system and our service. I am a true believer in providing the best service to our clients. The system is a great system but without the right service, it wouldn't go far.

As with every US companies out there touting the best customer service (Qwest with the latest tagline - Spirit of Service - as an example), what does that really mean? Well I experienced the best customer service tonight at a local restaurant in this town. I highly recommended it if you are ever in Fresno, CA. It's called Jasmine Garden - a Vietnamese restaurant - across the street from Fresno State.

They made me feel very welcome, especially when I was eating alone. As I noticed more customers walking, the waitstaff person/host greeted some people by their first names. Some were surprised because that was only their 2nd time visited the place. The regulars were treated as part of their families. He was very friendly, sincere, yet professional. The food was very good. It made the overall experience a pleasant one.

Yes the waitstaff person does have a gift to remember his customers but he gets it. Customer service is what bring his customers back. He knows that he has a repeat customer in me when I come back in town. And he also knows that he's one-degree of separation away from his next customers. I am writing this post about his restaurant, am I not?

I think big companies should be able to provide 1st class service like this little restaurant. They need to train their customer service staff to treat their customers better. How many times that I tried to contact customer service, especially for tech-related products, I was treated like I did something wrong? Product managers wonder why they are losing their customers. They may want to look inward on how their customers are being treated? CRM software are matured enough to allow this kind of tracking. Don't look at the solution providing to their customers? Look at how customer service staff is asking from their customers in the intial contact.

To close out this post, cell phone companies, are you listening? I think cell phone is one of the greatest evolution product, but I agree w/ this article. It's a service that I love to hate. I switched several services but it's still same old, same old. I am hopeful that someday I may have a customer-driven cell phone company.

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