Along with his partner Alison Kramer, president of UnMarketing Scott Stratten recently hosted a podcast on too-good customer service. Apparently, it is possible to go overboard, and this can leave an impression just as bad as poor service. The discussion got me thinking about the rarely discussed nuances of an effective customer service interaction, such as being complimentary without being too ingratiating, and developing rapport without TMI. Here’s what Scott had to say when I asked him how to manage this issue.
Alex: Do you believe there’s such a thing as “too-good” customer service in the B2B world?
Scott: Overservicing is not as much of a problem in B2B as it can be in B2C, but you do have to worry about meeting sky high expectations. If you return a client email at 11PM on a Saturday, it’s impressive initially but then becomes the expectation. And when you drop the ball, you’re in trouble.
Alex: That’s a great point. In the podcast, you guys also talk about attitude. In a customer interaction, can overt happiness or bubbliness be annoying?
Scott: There is a fine line between enthusiasm and annoyance for sure. I think sometimes overly bubbly people can come across cocky too. But really, a lot of this is subjective. I would personally rather deal with people who are too happy than those who are miserable.
Alex: Most experts recommend that salespeople try to establish personal relationships with customers. Do you agree?
Scott: Largely thanks to social media, our personal opinions about non-business things can be seen by customers, and this can be a problem. Politics, religion, even sport team allegiances that never came up previously can now have an impact on that relationship. A lot of people let their guard down on social platforms, which makes them great and authentic, but if you’re authentically a jerk, you have to accept the fallout.
For the rest of Scott's interview, check out the Intuit Fast Track blog.