User experience and managing customer expectations

I am an avid consumer – I buy things in person and on line very frequently.  I am tech savvy and utilize the web to determine which vendors are mature, professional, and trustworthy to warrant my business.  With that said, I am but a tiny participant in the eyes of companies – I buy for myself and for the most part, losing my business may not affect their bottom line.  With that said, there are sellers in the world with incredible customer service and those that make me question whether they deserve my repeat business.  But I notice that this doesn’t only apply to vendors and clients, sellers and buyers, this also applies when working with others;

  1. Employees must be aware about their position and how it looks to other employees – not only if the others are your superiors, but also if they are below you.   – e.g. the high ranking boss suddenly bumping elbows and talking to those of a lesser ranked employees suddenly because they need something – they know the boss is faking interest and it comes off as being extremely patronizing and sleazy.
  2. Every award, accolade, and praise that someone has about you/your department/your company is an indicator to focus and improve the work ethic.  The mind of the public is such that with every praise, their expectations have now increased.  Were you awarded the best XXX of the year from some award ceremony?  You better make sure your products have higher QA standards so the products are even better than they were when they were nominated.
  3. People like to watch.  This is a simple sentence to mean that people like to be kept in the loop, even if they have nothing to contribute. If you got slammed with a massive order and now things are going to take longer to ship – consider letting your customers know before they inquire.  But if you can’t do that for one reason or another, make it easy for the customer to be able to contact someone.  Having a customer create multiple accounts to get to a web form with questions to submit to customer service builds on the frustration they are feeling and also makes it appear as if you are trying to make it hard for them to inquire.
  4. Know your limits.  If you don’t have the power to authorize an action to be taken, don’t act as if you do – you are only impressive for that one moment to whomever you are trying to impress, but the aftermath and rumors of your impotence will circulate forever.
  5. Know when to bow out.  Especially in a team environment or when you are part of a workflow or process – if something is beyond your understanding or conflicts with your intent/direction, know when to quit or excuse yourself.  This applies to management level people or people not directly involved with the party that can make things happen(related to point #4).  Sort of like, don’t praise how speedy your packing department is when the customer is already upset at the delays in his order.
  6. Don’t play dumb.  If the customer is upset over a particular incident, not being available/ignoring the issue isn’t fooling anyone.  Often times, the customer expects the customer service to know and address issues and not be reactionary.  Do not wait until the customer brings up an issue to address it.  It’s just poor form.

This list, I’ve gathered from my experiences over shopping from many stores, brick-and-motor and internet – but these can apply to any team work.  I guess these can be things that can be applied in everyday situations…

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