When I first started working at Printfection, we had one major chore that no one wanted to do. We called it customer service. We’d let support emails pile up. We made excuses and devised ways to avoid talking to our ‘pesky’ customers. We weren’t the only ones: you don’t have to look far to run into mediocre (or worse) customer service.

Like most people, we hate being on the receiving end of horrible customer service, too. This includes:

  • Having to hunt for contact information
  • Convoluted phone trees
  • Being transferred to several people before getting any help
  • Dealing with poorly trained reps with no authority to do anything
  • Intricate policies and fine print.

We were guilty of everything on this list. Our way of handling customer service was time-consuming; by the time we actually started talking to most customers, they weren’t very happy with us, and we in turn started to dread picking up the phone.

Last year we asked ourselves, if we hate being on the receiving end of this, then why do we subject our customers to it? The solution became obvious. So, we ditched the old way of handling customer service and renamed ourselves the Customer Love Team. The name sounds silly, but the important thing is that we changed how we dealt with our partners and customers. All of our changes were simple, including the following:

  • We made it easy for customers to contact us however they want: phone, email, live chat, Twitter, Facebook, even snail mail.
  • Goodbye long phone menu. Now there are just two options: sales or support.
  • The Customer Love Team is able to handle both sales and support requests, no transfer required.
  • The team has the authority to do whatever is required to solve a problem. There are no approvals. We trust our employees’ judgement.
  • We threw out complicated policies in favor of common sense.

The most important change of all was in our attitude to customer care. It’s no longer a chore. And the more we strive to deliver customer love, the easier it becomes to reward our customers with great personalized service. Because of all these small changes, we’ve started to grow our base of loyal customers and our referrals.

Many of the improvements have been gradual. Our staff’s attitude didn’t change overnight. But over time, we’ve all started to show our customers the love. The benefits have been amazing. Customers are happier (we hear “Thank you” a lot more now), those of us on the Customer Love Team are happier, and we aren’t wasting time trying to dodge a major part of our business.

We aren’t the only ones moving away from conventional customer service. In fact, companies such as the famous Zappos have built their business squarely on customer care.

Which companies have blown you away with their dedication to customer service? How are you loving your customers?