convenience-service-catalog

Convenience is the most crucial driver for exceptional customer service

Customers have been less tolerant of ineffectiveness and inefficiency in an expeditious society like today. Satisfaction surveys done in 2012 ([1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6]) across various industries all singled out convenience as the most important element for satisfactory customer services, be they issue resolutions or regular services.

There are four aspects of convenience

Convenience is a perception of suitability, ease, timeliness, and comfort according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Extending on this interpretation in the context of customer service, it can be viewed as one consisting of these four attributes: dedication, appropriateness, timeliness, and ease. Dedication is ownership of service, appropriateness is product and service suitability, timeliness is quick resolution and support, and ease is ease of handling the affairs. These four characteristics – dedication, appropriateness, timeliness, and ease – nicely form a very memorable and pertinent acronym: DATE which we shall explore in further detail.

Dedication

Dedication is ownership. When a customer engages a staff for an inquiry, a transaction, or a complaint, the representative has to commit to take care of the matter at hand. If it is clear that a different organization or personnel has the jurisdiction, this agent must make the connection for the client and ensure that the next staff confirms ownership and the customer is comfortable with the transition. Being passed around through different agents has been rated a top displeasure in satisfaction surveys. And it is not a courtesy to anyone being served when the attendants keep changing. Merchants must make effort to avoid causing the customer any repetitious work especially when they need to switch staffs. Firms need to make ownership a must-retain in their service guidelines if customer satisfaction is a top priority.

Appropriateness

Appropriateness is suitability. When a customer makes an inquiry, adequate information or answers is expected. Frustration is brewed if the response is unreasonable or misaligned with the affair. Incomplete response that requires the customer to further inquisition, even if progressing, is an irritation to many especially in today’s fast-paced society. Staffs must be knowledgeable of the affairs that they are responsible for. Even pleasant personality will not go too far before customer annoyance sets in if the staff is ignorant in his domain expertise to render any meaningful assistance. Thoroughness is a good virtue, but it has to be balanced by precision. Information overload hurts rather than helps customer satisfaction. Customers would much rather dealing with shops where they get their affairs done in a clear and straightforward manner than with stores requiring elaborative and tedious maneuvers.

Timeliness

Time is of essence on many occasions today. Over and over again shoppers walk out the stores when they see long checkout lines or seemingly endless service queues. A cumbersome process is very discomforting regardless of how clear the process is. Delay against published schedules, particularly in transportation industries for instance, obviously is another vexation. Customers will not be happy if they need to wait a long time to be served, nor if they need to go through hoops to settle the affairs. The maxim that time is money written by Benjamin Franklin in his 1748 essay titled Advice to a Young Tradesman has never been more imperative than today. Keep it simple, and it will be swift as well.

Ease

Ease of use, ease of inquiry, ease of access, ease of resolution, ease of return, ease of understanding product description, ease of filing complaint, and ease of everything have become synonymous with customer satisfaction. Rigid or serpentine processes and rules may aid business operations; they are nonetheless anything but customer-oriented. Operations that the customers deem bureaucratic are sure to dent gratification and loyalty. An image-busy website turns visitor interests off faster than its attention grabbing images have time to cast their luring spells. Ease is the key to prevent frustration. A ten point essay will always yield to a three bullet summary. The Pew Research Centre in America recently surveyed almost 2,500 teachers and found that 87% felt modern technologies were creating an “easily distracted generation with short attention spans”. Therefore businesses ought to keep this in mind when they design their processes and operations. Ease, simplicity, or straightforwardness is in and difficulty, complexity, or convolution is out in the matter of customer service.

DATE defines the aspects of the convenience factor for outstanding services

In this article we spotlight convenience as the most critical component for extraordinary services; we then feature the four most critical facets of convenience and dive into each to give businesses clear insights to establish befitting structures to run operations and customer affairs. As well, service managers and client-facing staffs should be well equipped with this essential proposition before assisting customers. That convenience is the single most important factor for superlative services should be honored with the highest esteem by corporations today, just like a Delphic oracle had been by the Greeks in the Mycenaean times.

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Author: Chi-Pong Wong (All Rights Reserved by the author).
Source: Original Text (based upon first hand knowledge).
Image: © viviamo – photodune.net
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