CHICAGO — As laundry and linen services look to move on from the effects of the pandemic, to grow their businesses, they are examining every process in their companies.
That includes their customer service processes.
Without excellent customer service, a laundry would struggle to survive, let alone thrive.
How can an operation evaluate its customer service experience, its overall customer service culture, to improve and grow?
American Laundry News spoke with Shep Hyken, a customer service and experience expert about how customer service has changed and what laundry and linen services can do to evaluate and improve their customer service cultures.
Hyken founded Shepard Presentations in 1983 and has worked with hundreds of clients ranging from Fortune 100-size organizations to companies with less than 50 employees. His articles have been read in hundreds of publications, and he is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.
In Part 1, Hyken talks about excellent customer service and how customer service has changed.
What does excellent customer service in a business-to-business (B2B) setting look like to you?
I believe that the B2B customer has a mindset of a consumer. They are comparing experiences in the B2B world with the best experience they had from any company, and that’s typically going to be a business-to-consumer (B2C) experience.
Your B2B customers are now comparing their experiences to what they get at Amazon. They love the speed of delivery. They love the information that Amazon continues to feed to them throughout the process, and they love the experience. If something goes wrong, how it gets fixed. And that’s what the standard is today.
Not long ago I was working with a healthcare organization, and they ordered a half a million dollar piece of X-ray or imaging equipment. They had to build out a specific room that had a certain size and a certain amount of electricity. There was a checklist of things they had to do to put this equipment in there, and the equipment showed up about two weeks early.
Normally people would be ecstatic to have their orders show up early, but when you’re building something out, it’s important to coordinate.
What the executive said to me was fascinating. He said, “You know, I ordered toilet paper from Amazon, and they e-mailed to tell me it’s on its way. Why didn’t this company give us a heads up that piece of equipment was going to show up?”
I thought to myself, he’s just compared a half a million dollar X-ray machine to toilet paper.
That goes into my next question on how customer service has changed over the past few years.
What’s happened over the years is customers, in general, have become smarter and smarter about what great customer service looks like and feels like. Companies are advertising and saying they have great service. They’re going to give you the best experience, and that’s part of what the value proposition is.
What B2B vendors want to try to create is, instead of a vendor relationship, they want to move into more of a partner relationship where they can help contribute to your success, where they’re tied to you emotionally the same as a consumer is tied to a brand for a number of reasons.
What’s happening is the perception of the importance of service has come up to the top, and customers are recognizing that more and more. I don’t care where I go. I can go to a high-end luxury store, or I can walk into a local drugstore, and both will tell me that they have great customer service.
Check back Tuesday for Part 2 on how a laundry operation can evaluate its customer service.
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Matt Poe at [email protected] .