Idea #1 – When a customer service problem comes to your attention, stop and ask a couple questions before reacting to it:
Is this customer service issue an exception?
Is this customer service problem an isolated incident?
Real life examples
A furniture company has made 98 timely deliveries to happy customers and two ‘could have been prevented’ mistakes. The delivery team scratched a wall delivering a large table, and they choose the wrong chair from inventory for someone else.
You could look at these 2 customer service problems and scorn the delivery team. But in the mind of the delivery team, they kicked butt this week! How about a pat on the back for getting the 98 deliveries out? Even better, how about asking the delivery team to thank the 98 happy customers for their business and let them know that new customer referrals are welcomed?
100% customer satisfaction is admirable but it is not as profitable as 98% customer satisfaction when employees feel appreciated.
Idea #2 – If customer service problems are concentrated within a certain service offering, consider dropping the service.
As an example, let’s look at a heating and air conditioning repair business that also fixes pool heaters. If a high percentage of customer service problems come from fixing pool heaters, it is a sure sign that they are losing money fixing pool heaters.
Rather than trying to be all things to all people, they should exit the pool heater repair business and refocus their energy on what they are really good at – this would be the service offering that has the least number of customer service issues.
Idea #3 – If customer service problems are concentrated with a certain customer segment, consider dropping the focus on that segment.
As an example, let’s say you sell pest control services to local governments, residential home owners and apartment building owners. If the majority of your customer service issues are coming from one particular segment, it is time to exit the segment.
Opportunities for profit improvement
In summary, when you sit back and analyze what seem like customer problems on the surface, it often uncovers the opportunities to make changes that improve your profits.
Trying to be all things to all customers is admirable but not as profitable as focusing on customer segments and service offering that you are good at.