Being a perfectionist can be a really good thing. But in customer service, it’s a disaster.
It’s good to work hard, to have great goals, to always want to improve and deliver an exceptional customer experience to your customers. But does your desire for perfect customer service keep you from adding all the missing pieces your customers wish you had? Do you hold off on adding more because you don’t think it’s ready, or it’s not good enough?
Perfect customer service is impossible
From someone who’s been working in customer service for a long time, let me tell you, perfectionism is impossible, and is bad for your customer service.
You can make a perfect customer service interaction, but that won’t guarantee that every customer interaction beyond that will be perfect. Not every customer is the same. Not all customer problems are the same. Some times you’ll get stuck, normal solutions won’t work, and some customers will down right refuse to be happy with whatever solution you offer.
Even the best customer service intentions may not be enough
Even the best customer service intentions may not always be enough. You will always fall somewhat short of perfect if you expect to solve every customer service problem. You can master the customer service skills that the experts say is most important, yet make a wrong choice when working with a customer and make someone upset, or take longer than you should to solve a problem. You will always have room for improvement.
The perfect customer service goal
Delivering perfect customer service is a great goal, but it’s not a realistic goal.
What makes perfect customer service an even greater challenge is that what you consider perfect today, may not be perfect tomorrow. Your goals change. You learn, you grow, your customers’ habits change, your business evolves. Customer service is never static. Customer service is dynamic. Perfection is always a moving target.
If your customer service needs to be perfect for you to be happy and satisfied, you’re doing to be frequently disappointed.
Can you aim for perfect customer service?
There’s nothing wrong with aiming for perfection, as long as your inability to achieve perfection doesn’t prevent you from implementing your customer service ideas. Most people use perfection, or imperfection as an excuse to not do something. It’s not good enough, but something is better than nothing. It’s not perfect, but it shows you’re trying. What you consider to be imperfect may actually be GREAT in the mind of your customer.
Too many of us use perfectionism as a crutch. Perfectionism is too often an excuse so we don’t have to worry about…
What happens if I’m successful?
Some of us are afraid of success. If we’re successful on our first try, can we repeat it in our subsequent tries? Can lightning strike twice? Was it really me or was it just luck? Being successful means that you’re going to have to go back to the drawing board, come up with new ideas, make magic happen again. Once you’re successful in your customer service vision, your customers will expect you to maintain that, then increase that service level and deliver even better customer service. The pressure is real, so some of use the excuse of “it’s not perfect” to keep us from doing anything at all.
What happens if I fail?
So what if my very best isn’t appreciated by my customers? What if I do my very best and my boss just doesn’t care, or doesn’t notice? Some of us use the possibility of imperfection as an excuse to not face the possibility of failure. What we forget is that failing doesn’t mean that you can’t ever try again. Failing once, twice, a million times, doesn’t keep you from trying again. That’s the beauty of this life. As long as you’re alive you can try again. You can keep working, keep pushing, keep trying to deliver the type of service that matters most to customers. If one program doesn’t work, maybe another will. If one training falls flat, maybe another won’t. But if you never try, you’ll never know.
There’s nothing wrong with striving for perfection, as long as you’re willing to settle for “the best I can do right now.”
The fantastic thing about customer service is that it’s not just one single moment. There are always new opportunities to try your service ideas. You can always change your approach. You can always come up with new ways to do things. If one idea doesn’t work, another may. If none of your customers seem to appreciate something, change it. As long as you’re in business, you’re going to have opportunities to try your customer service ideas.
If you wait until you know everything about customer service before you start doing it, you’re going to be waiting forever. You will never know everything there is to know. Besides, even if you did, customer service is a personal challenge. It’s about relationships with real imperfect people. The perfect approach may not always be received perfectly by your imperfect customer.
You will never be perfect
The customer is NOT always right, but they are always the customer. Winning customer service is fearless. Winning customer service is motivated. Winning customer service is proactive. Winning the customer requires you to step out of your comfort zone because you will never be perfect. But you can rest assured because neither will your customers.
What do you think? How do you face the fact that your customer service delivery is never completely perfect?
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