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Customer Service Hell and Why We Believe in the Golden Rule
In December of 2015, the Pew Research Center found that one in seven Americans was getting rid of cable TV. By July of 2016 that number rose to one in five Americans becoming cable cutters. I'm one of those Americans without cable TV.
Of course, people have been parting ways with cable providers for a long time. That video on YouTube where a baby monkey rides a pig is far more entertaining than most of the stuff you’ll find on cable. But I have a different theory regarding why there was such a large spike in the number of customers parting ways with their cable companies in a six-month period:
A lot of people must have had to deal with a customer service rep at a cable company.
Customer Service Misery
And if you’ve ever dealt with a customer service rep at a cable provider, you know it can be its own special form of misery. To begin with, listening to elevator music while spending 45 minutes on hold is a type of torture I personally believe would be far more effective than waterboarding.
Seriously, if you want to get a confession to any crime, just put the suspect on the phone with Comcast. He or she would tell you whatever you wanted to know just to exit the seventh circle of customer service hell.
Why do cable companies have such infamously bad customer service?
One reason is that their company cultures were established when customers had very few choices when it came to home entertainment. Cable companies were basically local monopolies, and monopolies encourage horrible customer service. It’s much easier to treat your customers like garbage if you think they have no other options.
In real estate, we don’t have the benefit of a monopoly. In Missouri alone, there are more than 20,000 Realtors®. In an industry this competitive, customer service isn’t just something we do to be nice (although we firmly believe kindness is essential to success).
Customer Service is One of Our Most Important Competitive Advantages
We believe great customer service begins with how we treat our colleagues, how management and staff treat each other, how staff treats agents, and ultimately, how anyone associated with our company treats customers.
Customer service must be more than just procedures in a policy manual. It must be a cultural value. It must be something your team embodies, top to bottom.
You cannot treat customers like they deserve to be treated if your internal culture sucks. If you try to fake good external customer service while practicing poor internal customer service, your customers will immediately recognize your lack of authenticity.
And a lack of authenticity is devastating in today’s business climate.
Good customer service is also based on something really simple, but still incredibly profound:
The Golden Rule
We should treat each other the way we would like to be treated.
Yes, cable companies lost market share because technology changed.
But they also lost market share because a lot of customers experienced how awful it is to deal with a cable company, and would gladly deal with paying for multiple subscriptions to services like Netflix and Hulu just to never be on the phone with a customer service rep from a cable company again. Again, I'm one of those people.
At Worth Clark Realty, delivering an unparalleled customer experience is our number one priority.
It’s the only way we grow, but more than that, we believe a business that treats everyone who touches it with dignity, respect, and courtesy (the basic building blocks of customer service) is the only business worth building.
And at Worth Clark Realty, our goal is to build something special. That starts with how we treat each other—and how we treat you, our customer.
Steven Barks is the President & COO of Worth Clark Realty. He began his real estate career in 2009 as an agent for a small startup property management company in Minneapolis, MN. A natural self-starte....