What is good customer service: providing emotional fulfillment.
The Business Owner:
How to Win Customers & Keep Them for Life, by Michael LeBoeuf
Why I Read It:
Back in the
1990s, I worked for a Fortune 200 organization that manufactured microfiche for
high-end users. We realized as managers that not only do the customers need to
be considered, but also the staff. Then, for the past 17 years, my husband and
I have co-owned VJ Books. And [this book] has been our absolute guiding mantra
for 20 years. I think that that’s why we’re one of the remaining independent
booksellers that are successful.
LeBoeuf wants small business owners to know that although they can’t necessarily provide a product or service for all their customers’ needs, they can work to understand and address customers’ “unmet wants.” Customers could be seeking comfort or validation. Over time, I have realized that customers want flexibility, such as reassurance their order requests are proceeding in a timely manner when dealing with an online company they can’t see.
same is true for employees. They, too, have unmet wants, such as wanting to
have passion for what they do. And managers should fulfill those wants as well.
So I treat my employees as customers because I get more from my staff that way.
don’t necessarily think that I can solve everyone’s problems, but I need to be
aware of what the unmet want is and try to address it to the best of my
ability. Or really be upfront with them and say, “It’s just not something we
can address right now.” And hopefully they’ll come away feeling heard and
Applying Lessons Learned:
[For example, customers might ask], “Where’s my book?” For the casual observer, that means they want to know where their book is.
customers can go to their account and see all the information concerning their
order. So I had to start thinking through that. Why are they asking these types
I have realized over this 20-year period is that what they really want to know
is, “Have I made the right decision?” So I will not only answer that initial
question, but I also answer what I perceive to be the deeper issue in the
communication. That could be something as simple as commenting on the book that
they’ve ordered or what I know about the author.
Who Should Read It:
I think small business owners would obviously benefit from it if they are more employee-driven and customer-driven, as opposed to quarterly report-driven. I think [LeBoeuf] gives some very good examples to help change your approach to the customer and your staff.