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ARTICLESManagement & Service

SERVICE IS A - P A C T

If you have a good PROCESS in place you meet customer expectations.

If your staff has a positive ATTITUDE you pleasantly surprise the customer.

With effective COMMUNICATION you keep customers well informed & on top.

If you perform on TIME you satisfy your customer and …

If your P A C T is in place you delight customers.

Service is a PACT and P A C T is around which excellent service revolves. PACT can also be an acronym meaning PROCESS, ATTITUDE, COMMUNICATION and TIME. If a business primarily focuses on these four keys areas service has to be good and satisfaction has to follow.

PROCESS

Process or procedure is what keeps the ball rolling from start to finish. If the chain of activities are well designed and run smoothly, focused on customer requirements you meet his expectations.

Imagine you are at the hypermarket refund section and the customer service staff is extremely helpful and understanding. She is also efficient in speaking to the electronics section and sorting the problem in a few minutes. She demonstrated excellent on time performance in preparing the refund papers while coordinating with electronics. Things seemed to be going really fast until she gave you the papers and asked you to collect the refund from accounts. Well accounts took a good 35 minutes to refund the money. Their refund process involved a confirmation from the electronics section. They then had to reverse the sale. Then get approval from the operations manager and chief accountant and finally refund the money.

There was obviously a process snag in the accounts department leading to an imbalance between frontline and them. The customer was satisfied in the manner the refund was handled but not in the process of actual refund leaving him with a sour feeling.

ATTITUDE

For a process to be in place and work well you require an attitude - a positive attitude. It is a positive attitude that nudges you to understand the process and work towards meeting customer requirements. Process by itself cannot do it. It requires the human element. The human element, that thinks positively and works positively in keeping the process in place. The human element that satisfies customers should the process fail.

In the same hypermarket scenario imagine accounts were very efficient but gave him the impression of doing a favor by refunding the money. The customer would have been satisfied with the outcome, but would have left with a lingering bad taste due to the manner the refund was made. They made it look like an obligation than a right and no customer wants an obligation.

COMMUNICATION

Many a business has breakdowns in their process or attitude due to gaps in communication. This is even more evident when frontline handle customers. Effective communication, both within the organization and to customers can overcome many a pitfalls in business. Proper communication helps develop understanding and understanding only makes one more knowledgeable. This paves the way for accommodation in processes or any shortfalls.

Let’s suppose the service agent in the hypermarket goes back office to inform the manager of the electronics section. She comes back but does not have a reply for him. She instead asks him to wait. Though she goes frequently to back office she does not give an explanation nor gives an update on the status of his refund. The poor customer after waiting for 20 minutes is told to check in two days as the product needs to be sent to the service center.

Well, so much for effective communication and service recovery.

TIME

Time is prime. Given today’s fast pace time plays a very important role in customer satisfaction. A timely act is always appreciated than a delayed performance with excuses.

On time performance holds the key for any process to be efficient, to work positively or communicate effectively to bridge any gaps.

The service agent tells him that she would get back in 2 days after sending the product to the service center but there is no reply for 5 days. The customer calls just to be informed that it would take a couple of days more.

Service could have been rendered professionally keeping their side of the PACT if the service agent had called in 2days (Time), updating the customer on the status (Communication), empathizing with the customer (Attitude) and explaining the reasons for the delay (Process). The customer may have understood, accommodated and given them another opportunity.

Or in the various situations above …

Should the PROCESS in accounts have been in place he would have been satisfied.

Should their ATTITUDE have been less indifferent he would have accommodated.

Should their COMMUNICATION have been proactive he would have understood.

Should their performance been on TIME he may have continued his business...

Though there are numerous other facets while serving or satisfying a customer, they all stem from a P A C T. For, all service and satisfaction revolves around your P A C T with the customer. You keep your side of the P A C T and customers would keep theirs ... in building your business.

Think about it.

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