A few years ago I walked into the chiropractor for a routine visit and walked out having experienced an insightful exercise in “customer relation management.”
In the past, I’ve visited chiropractors who treat their business like a marathon, trying to schedule and race through as many appointments as time will allow. But this visit was different. This chiropractor made some recommendations, we spent a good portion of our time discussing the “why” behind healthy living and we talked about some of the things that I’m involved in that are contributing to good health like Cross Fit. He went so far as to tell me that if I continued to live a healthy life, I wouldn’t need him for more than occasional maintenance adjustments.
It was evident that he was more interested in empowering me to make healthy life decisions, even if it meant fewer visits for him to bill. The moment I learned that he was in it for me, and that he was not trying to manufacture an urgency and dependency around his business, I was sold.
Customer commitment is priceless.
A Big Dumb Company tries to manufacture a need for their products or services. A great company recognizes that customers don’t need it and tries to create an experience that causes their customers to want to do business with it. There’s a big difference in how employees approach customer service, from “acquisition” to “customer relationship management,” and it’s an important paradigm shift to make.
A focus on manufacturing a customer need places a higher value on the organization. A focus on generating a customer want places a higher value on the customer.
Let’s be honest, people aren’t dumb. We know that there isn’t a business out there that we absolutely need. And we often perceive an organization’s overdramatic attempts to manufacture a dependency as compensatory for a sub-par product or service.
I don’t need my chiropractor; there isn’t a shortage of chiropractors in the greater Grand Rapids area. And my Chiropractor gets that. He understands that people visit him because they want to be healthier. And because he doesn’t engage in trying to manufacture a need in order to drum up business. Instead he’s focused on creating a want and he earns commitment from his customers.
For many, Apple’s Genius Bar is another example. Apple employees genuinely love to teach customers how their products can make life easier.
At Service Express, we don’t try to manufacture a need. Our customers entrust us with their critical systems, but we know that there are other service providers who can provide adequate service. So we work hard everyday to provide a level of service that causes our customers to want to do business with us. That’s evident in SEI’s Service Delivery.
For example, our customers are often in “crisis mode” when they call us. Because of that, we don’t use an automated answering system. We ensure that a live person is always available to answer their call. We also commit that an Engineer will call them back within 30 minutes of their call (though our call back time averages less than 10 minutes). And while other companies may haggle with them about contract terms and conditions and serial numbers before they authorize a service ticket, we don’t. We fix the problem first. Our service team not only provides exceptional service, they are exceptional people to work with.
We believe that the foundation of any great relationship is not built on dependency, but on interdependency.
At Service Express, a great relationship means that we can live without one another, we just don’t want to!