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10 Ways to Prevent Customer Problems from Developing

Anticipate problems that might arise. Think through ways to
prevent them, or, if their occurrence is beyond your control, to
solve them when they do.



Learn what you can about future plans, projects and objectives,
both at your company and at your customer’s company.



Make lists of crises that recur. Develop routine strategies to handle
them while you find and eliminate the root cause(s).




If a problem is not in your circle of influence, that is you can-not
effect its resolution, put it out of your mind.

A Comparison of 10 Viewpoints on Customer Service



That was then, this is now. You’ve got to go with and focus on the modern view even to be in the game today.








What Outmoded View Modern View
Customer Service Definition Vague, some degree of goodness Mom and apple pie Precise, i.e., fully meeting customer
needs and expectations

Application
Customers with problems or orders All customers, large or small, current or potential
Responsibility Customer service department Each and every employee
System Inspect, double check, work harder Do it right the first time
Performance standard That’s good enough Unqualified conformance to customer service standards, continuous improvement
Priority Poor relative of sales Primus inter pares: First among equals
Attention Only when customers complain Constant, its the way we do things here
Problem solving Quick answer, tell them anything Identify and eliminate root causes
Culprits Customer service representatives Owners and managers
Owners and top management Minimal, cheerleading, blaming Fanatical, doing, supporting, leading



Schedule milestones and reporting dates at various phases of all
tasks or projects to forewarn you of problems.




Allow enough time to complete tasks and projects completely and accurately.



Deal with problems as soon as they appear and before they
“explode.”



Don’t even try to cover up problems. They will be discovered
and they will be bigger and harder to handle.



Don’t put off doing jobs or handling complaints just because
they are difficult or distasteful.



Be aware of trends in the economy, construction, with your customers and at your company. Prepare for any new realities.




About the Author

L. Douglas Mault is president of the Executive Advisory Institute,
Yakima, Wash.

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