Good customer service – what it really means

Recently I had the good fortune or misfortune, depending on how you look at it, of refinancing our home. The fortunate part was that we got a great rate on the loan, and had a loan broker who exemplified the definition of great customer service.  Unfortunately, the great broker was not the person who got us the great deal. Yet, she is the person that I will recommend all day long.

Why would I recommend someone who didn’t deliver the results?  Simply put – everything she did demonstrated her commitment to providing great customer service. Whether it was the way she ensured that we had all our paperwork in order to minimize the number of requests for additional documentation; or how she updated us daily on the progress of our loan, she ensured that we would have a good experience from start to finish.  When there were obstacles, she’d call, explain the problem, and have a suggestion in hand of how we could overcome it. She communicated regularly. She was proactive in coming up with solutions. And in the end, when her lender could not give us the great rate she’d been going after, she went so far as finding another broker who could. She even sent them all of our documentation so we wouldn’t have to send it all again. That’s great customer service!

While the new broker got us the loan, he barely lifted a finger. We had to chase after him for progress updates. We had to produce duplicate documentation because he didn’t look through all the backup we had already provided.  Then, we got our paperwork into underwriting a week late because the loan processor missed sending it in!  When the loan was approved we didn’t hear from him until after we signed the documents; and only then because he called to boast that he had “gotten us a great deal.” Great deal or not, as customers we did not feel well served.

The first broker went above and beyond what we expected to give us a great experience, even when we weren’t her customers.  The second broker, who had our business, all but ignored us. The difference between the two interactions made me realize that giving great customer service shouldn’t depend on how much the customer spends, how they treat you, or how much time you have to invest. Great customer service is something you do for yourself, because you want to feel great about the way you do your job.  When you come at it from that place, everyone you deal with has a great experience, whether they end up being your customer or not.

An interesting statistic from the White House Office of Consumer Affairs: Happy customers who have their issues resolved tell between 4-6 people about their experience. Dissatisfied customers tell between 9-15 people about their experience – and 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people about their poor experience.

Think about what you can do to feel great about the way you treat your customers – and prospects – so that everyone wants to share the great experience they had with you.

That’s sure to make it an extraordinary day – for everyone!