Customer service: what you can learn from great historical figures
To help inspire customer service teams, we’ve looked back through history to pinpoint key insights that can ensure you deliver on best practice today. In the first of our three-part series, we focused on the thoughts of the great minds of classical antiquity. In this follow-up, we’ve extracted pearls of wisdom from the quotes of key historical figures from the Renaissance to the late modern period.
1. Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle, Michelangelo
Never forget that successful customer service starts with understanding and delivering on the small details that customers expect. Focusing consistently on the little things is essential for perfect customer service and one of the basic principles behind building trust. It’s easy to make bold promises to your customers, but they won’t take you seriously until they’ve seen that you are delivering on what you say. [More about Michelangelo]
2. He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast, Leonardo da Vinci
Every customer service team needs a long-term plan – along with the ability to measure how you are performing and the flexibility to change course if circumstances dictate. [More about Leonardo da Vinci]
3. Where there is shouting there is no true knowledge, Leonardo da Vinci
Back in February, we found that UK companies could only successfully answer 64% of questions asked on the web, email, Twitter and Facebook and no company was able to answer on all four of these channels. No wonder that the UK Customer Satisfaction Index, released in January by the Institute of Customer Service, found that customer satisfaction is at its lowest level since July 2015. This drop in performance has a clear impact on loyalty and profitability and this could be costing UK brands £33 billion a year.
4. There is no desire more natural than the desire for knowledge, Michel de Montaigne
Consumers want fast answers to their questions, whatever channel they are using. Make sure you are investing in the knowledge that ensures you can respond quickly, comprehensively and consistently. Embracing a more dynamic approach to creating, sharing and updating knowledge is key for every business if they want to meet rising customer expectations. [More about Michel de Montaigne]
5. Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice, William Shakespeare
Good customer service starts with listening. Take time to understand what customers are saying before rushing in to act. Go beyond basic feedback surveys and simple satisfaction metrics and widen your Voice of the Customer programs to listen to what your customers are saying and feeling in day-to-day digital interactions. [More about William Shakespeare]
6. Better three hours too soon than a minute too late, William Shakespeare
Be clear about how soon you will respond to customer queries and make sure you deliver on your own targets.
7. Knowing is not enough; We must apply. Willing is not enough; We must do, Goethe
All the research and data you collect to help understand customer needs and sentiment is useless if you fail to act on it. [More about Goethe]
8. Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm, Samuel Taylor Coleridge
There’s a clear link between engaged employees and happy customers. Customer leaders who want to create an excellent customer experience must ensure their customer-facing teams are engaged, energised and enthusiastic. [More about Samuel Taylor Coleridge]
9. Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles and kindnesses, and small obligations, given habitually, are what win and preserve the heart and secure comfort, Sir Humphry Davy
Create a customer-centric culture that encourages your staff to be always ready and willing to respond to customers’ requests, no matter how small. Without it, the service you provide will not deliver on your promises, possibly undermining customer relationship. Does everyone understand your customer strategy and are they working to deliver it? [More about Sir Humphry Davy]
Hopefully, there are insights here that inspire you and your team. Look out for our third and final post in this series – in which we’ll be exploring relevant quotes from great modern leaders.