Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Interview With A Customer Service Guru

Two Maids & A Mop is serious about customer service. We work hard to prove to our customers that we are the most customer friendly housecleaning company in the world. We learn more and more everyday about how we can improve our customer service experience. We're not perfect yet, but we're working on it.

We recently interviewed Glen Ross. Glen is a customer service expert and he publishes a blog called Customer Service Experience. Here's what Glen had to say about customer service.

What prompted you to start a blog about customer service?
Stupid managers at a national department store. A little over a year ago, my day job included staff training and development as well as helping our division phase in Constituent (or Customer) Relationship Management. Having a background in sales and sales management, I have long had an interest in customer service. Standing in line one day at a major department store, I witnessed extremely poor customer service. I don’t blame the employees, I hold their managers responsible. The light bulb went on and several days later I launched my first blog.

What is the worst customer service that you have ever received?
Oh hey. I’ve been a customer for more than 45 years ever since I used to buy nickel Cokes at Ragland’s Drugstore in Tutwiler, MS. The brain has a marvelous capacity to forget pain. But the most blatant was the manager of a big box electronics store telling me he wouldn’t give me a refund because he’d have to take a $160 markdown. This after I’d spent more than $5000 in his store.

What is the best customer service that you have ever received?
I’ve had several marvelous experiences shopping at Nordstrom’s. I received very professional service from the staff at Dale Carnegie. I’ve arranged several conferences at the Omni Hotel in Las Colinas, TX near DFW airport. Yesterday the teenager at the fast food restaurant drive-through window did not screw up my order.

Have you ever hired a housecleaning company before? If so, what was your opinion of the service?
No, I haven’t. In my home, we consider dust to be a furniture preservative. The problem with housecleaning is, once you do it, six months later you have to do it all over again.

If you owned a housecleaning business, what is the first thing that you would do to improve customer service?
I’d apprentice to you for a year or so. But since you live in Florida, and I don’t, I think I would talk to customers and potential customers to identify their expectations. Then I’d work up a strategy to exceed them. That might require examining the skills my employees would need and then hire people with those skills.

Why is the worst customer service usually found in the service sector?
I wasn’t aware that government was part of the service sector. Poor customer service in the service sector probably results from employees hired for their ability to perform tasks, not hired for their ability to relate to people. But management ultimately bears the responsibility because they’re focused on areas other than customer service.

Will customer service be any better 20 years from now?
Darn right it will be! My blog, Customer Service Experience, will be the most widely read in the blogosphere with people rushing away from their computers to implement every idea they’ve found there. Couple that with the fact that Two Maids And A Mop will have spread worldwide (or as you’ll like to say, “throughout the known universe”) as professors at Harvard Business School compare your influence in the service sector to Microsoft’s in the software industry. (I could go on, but I’m a humble guy.)

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