Think about the last time you experienced truly great customer service. What made it so memorable? Was it the person you spoke with? Was it your preconceived expectation of how the service interaction would go? Was it so great because your preconceived standards were exceeded?

What is Perception?

Perception is a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression.

In today’s technological wonderland we subconsciously form expectations about companies by absorbing their multi-channel marketing efforts. It is rare to have an interaction with a company without first seeing a commercial on television, a glossy ad in a magazine or doing a quick Google search. How you rate the success of the interaction is based on your individual perception of what the company has to offer.

Perception plays a large role in customer service. Surprisingly, many of my exceptional customer service experiences have occurred at fast food or chain restaurants. Why? Simple! My expectations are not very high and they are therefore very easy to exceed. On the other hand, some of my worst customer experiences have occurred at premium electronics retailers and expensive hotels. Why? My expectation of service is very high and consequently easy to fail to meet. The goal is to find a happy medium of customer expectation and quality of service.

What is World Class Customer Service?

World class customer service is the ability to consistently meet or exceed a customer’s expectations.

Customer expectations are exceeded when front line personnel are empowered to go off script and personalize service to wow a specific customer. Offering personalized service is essential to providing world class customer support.

Heard of the “under-promise and over-deliver” strategy? It has its place but I am a bigger fan of developing your own unique customer service strategy that compliments your target customer’s lifestyle and how they want to be perceived by peers.

Marketing and Customer Service on the Same Team?

Many people are predicting the merger of customer service and marketing departments. For many reasons this idea makes sense. If marketing is helping customers to form their perceptions – then customer service needs to be on the same page, so customer service representatives are aware of what’s expected of them.

Marketing and customer service now more than ever need to start talking to one another and recognize that each is in the other’s business to some degree. But it’s especially true of customer service. – Greg Stirling, Marketing & Customer Service Now Joined at the Hip

110704.service Perception and Customer ServiceToday’s marketers are exploiting social media outlets to attract and engage customers. High customer engagement is good for sales. How your brand is perceived and how customers and potential customers interact with your company is very important. If you find your customer satisfaction rate decreasing maybe your service, is not meeting what your company promises. Or perhaps, the company is promising more than customer service can deliver. If that’s the case, a customer service strategy assessment, will align service efforts with company promises to increase customer satisfaction.