As we’re closing in on our five year anniversary, we’ve had several clients now who say that we’ve ruined them for all other customer service interactions. Sorry! These clients have said that we’re so on top of returning calls and emails that they’re starting to expect the same level of ridiculous responsiveness from other vendors, and no one else is living up to it.
Now, this isn’t going to be a blog all about our own awesomeness (not that self-promotion is a bad thing), but instead we’re using this client’s super nice compliments to illustrate how obsessed we are with outstanding customer service. And also to talk about why we think every other business should be this obsessed, too.
Don’t Apply if You’re Not Committed
When any department at Sector45 is hiring, the help wanted ad always includes the requirement that candidates must be responsive. In order for us as a company to quickly address our clients’ needs, every team member from the top down needs to embrace the same level of rapid-fire responsiveness. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that an absurd level of responsiveness is part of our business philosophy; Ridiculously Responsive™ has become part of our company culture.
We want people who are 100 percent on top of absolutely everything, and who let us know it. And if there’s any kind of problem, we want people who’ll hop right on top of fixing it—not eventually answer that email in a few hours or maybe check into that issue later next week.
When all team members hold quick communication and instant issue resolution as their top priorities, delivering near-immediate results for our clients becomes not just possible, but acts as our default standard for doing business.
Why We Hate the Wait & See
We’ve all heard stories of the opposite approach. Some of us have even worked with those other people—the sales guy who made prospective customers wait a few days before returning their calls so he didn’t seem too desperate, or the manager who thought waiting till the next day to answer emails helped “train” his clients to not expect him to drop everything and rush to their rescue.
For those folks, let’s just say we’ve seen that kind of work, and we’re not fans.
Sure—in a sense, those tactics work. The customers don’t think you’re desperate. The clients don’t expect you to jump in and help them out when they need you the most. But do you really want a reputation as the company that ISN’T there right away for your clients, or that DOESN’T value each and every customer, regardless of how badly you need or want their business? We should hope not.
How to Up Your Responsiveness Game
If you’re a company that struggles with answering calls or emails in a timely way, the metamorphosis into Ridiculously Responsive™ isn’t going to happen overnight. But like anything, it’s the little steps that add up to big changes over time:
- Start by prioritizing immediacy in all of your own communication. The more people get used to how quickly you connect with them, the more they feel they should return in kind.
- Ingrain responsiveness as part of your company culture. Email works, but instant messaging platforms like Skype and Slack make it easy to stay connected and hold real-time conversations about any issues that require prompt attention.
- Don’t wait to follow up on that lead or collaborate with that colleague. Moving quickly impresses the person on the other end, and moving quickly consistently earns their long-term respect.
Finally, recognize that ensuring Ridiculously Responsive™ customer service requires the active participation of everyone on your team. Even one player who’s half-assing it can ruin the flow for everyone. If you’re going to be serious about delivering outrageously good customer service, going above and beyond needs to be viewed as the bare minimum.