Never Underestimate the Impact of Customer Service

Customer service means different things depending on who you ask. To some businesses, it is a necessary evil to some companies—another thing “we have to do.” For others, like most of Glia’s financial institution clients, customer interactions are central to their mission and how they operate. Either way, when customers or members need to interact with your organization, how they feel they are being served is one of the most important things to them at that moment! Each interaction moves them closer or farther away from the next win and can make or break their long-term relationship with your brand.

Customer Experience, Both Sides Now

I recently had the honor of seeing legendary singer and songwriter Joni Mitchell, who wrote the Grammy-winning song, Both Sides Now, made famous by Judy Collins in the late 60s. Each chorus begins with, “I’ve looked at [clouds | love | life] from both sides now,” but I’m sure many customer experience (CX) professionals could write a verse for “customer service.”

If you’re reading this, you probably play some role in the customer journey. But think about your own experiences as a consumer and of the customer service interactions that made you either want to curse and throw your device out the window (does scheduling home internet service come to mind?) or made you feel so heard and respected that you don’t even care about comparison shopping next time you need a product or service from the brand. Isn’t the latter where you want your customers to be? That’s what they want!

Two personal real-world financial institution examples I’ve experienced illustrate the impact of both ends of the spectrum. A loyal customer of a major insurance carrier for 30 claimless years, when a tree fell on our home, among other elements of lousy customer service, the representative said, “I don’t have to match the color of the roof tiles, I can put green ones up there if we want,” which made us high-tail to a new carrier once they paid the claim. On the flip side, when we refinanced our mortgage, because we had such good experiences with our credit union, we were OK with a slightly higher rate because we felt they had our backs.

Commitment to CX Gets Noticed

You can’t always resolve your customers’ needs, but it makes all the difference if they feel you are listening to them and genuinely trying to help. Excellent customer service starts with a commitment supported by the proper training, processes, and customer interaction technology.

A placard I saw a few years ago in a New York City parking garage has always stuck with me (and yes, the service was exceptional—which can be rare in NYC garages)…

Because the Customer
Because the customer has a need, we have a job to do
Because the customer has a choice, we must be the better choice
Because the customer has sensibilities, we must be considerate
Because the customer has an urgency, we must be quick
Because the customer is unique, we must be flexible
Because the customer has high expectations, we must excel
Because the customer has influence, we have the hope of more customers
Because of the customer, we exist!

As a consumer, these simple but powerful words certainly resonated with me. As a business, it was refreshing to see others placing the same emphasis on customer service that Glia does, from our product mission to redefine how businesses interact with customers to how we guide and care for our customers. I’m proud to be part of a company making a real difference.