By Jim Lombardo, CPCU, AAI, AIM, MBA, AVP of Learning & Development
According to Wikipedia, the definition of “customer service" is : the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase. The perception of success of such interactions is dependent on employees "who can adjust themselves to the personality of the guest". Customer service concerns the priority an organization assigns to customer service relative to components such as product innovation and pricing. In this sense, an organization that values good customer service may spend more money in training employees than the average organization or may proactively interview customers for feedback.
Now what I find funny about that is they use the phrase “good customer service" within the definition. I ask you, “What is GOOD customer service?" I'll tell you what I feel is not “good" customer service, but “expected" customer service.
To list a few items-
Whether I am ordering a coffee at a local shop or buying groceries, I EXPECT eye contact!! I EXPECT the person to use my name (if they know it) – don't call me “friend". I EXPECT that they will say “you are welcome" or “It was my pleasure" when I say THANK YOU- don't say “no problem".
I EXPECT them to be able to count correct change and not to mumble and I EXPECT them to be able to know something about me- assuming I am a regular customer. If I am not a regular, then perhaps I should be treated especially “good" so I will entertain becoming a customer. I don't want to feel like I am bothering the waitress, cashier or clerk. I EXPECT that they understand my value as a customer.
So, my questions to you are:
How is the customer service at your agency? Is it GOOD? Or just what I expect? Or less than what I expect? Do your employees seem genuinely happy/grateful when a customer calls in? After all the customers help you pay your bills.
What priority do you place on that customer service? Do you address an employee right away if they are overheard not offering good customer service? Do you take the time and the resources to have them attend a class and train them to better their customer service skill set?
Most of us get our business from referrals and word of mouth. How fast does it get around that you have poor customer service and/or you take your customers for granted?
Think about it- in today's Amazon society, we need to ensure every and all interactions people have with our agencies are high touch, pleasant, helpful and valuable.
What do we have cooking here at Big I NY? We are knee deep in training and coaching our own employees to offer “good" customer service so that when you, our customers, call in you receive customer service that is high touch, pleasant, helpful and valuable.
Take a look at some upcoming classes and webinars that will help you hone your customer service skills:
AAI 83 B The Insurance Production Environment
Cyber Coverage - Data Breach and So Much More
ABEN Risk Mgmt & Insurance-Why Agents Are NOT Risk Managers