Customers who say all is “fine” may be waving a red flag

PHOENIX, Jan. 11, 2005 — When a customer tells a utility their service is “fine,” it should be a red flag.

“Many people have a terrible customer-service experience at a restaurant and, as they leave, tell the host or hostess everything was fine,” says David Saxby, president of Phoenix-based Measure-X, a company that specializes in helping utilities improve their customer service and sales. “Then they go to work the next day and tell whoever will listen about their awful restaurant experience. Fine isn’t good enough in the business world today and utilities need to understand that.”

Saxby offers the following five tips on why it’s important to understand the meaning of “fine.”

Tip. No. 1. Don’t assume that customers are implying they are satisfied when they say everything is fine. “Sixty-five to 85 percent of customers who say they are satisfied with service actually switch to the competition,” Saxby says

Tip. No. 2. When people give “fine” as their response, they’re sometimes avoiding the truth. “What they often mean is things were not well or unsatisfactory,” Saxby notes.

Tip No. 3. Don’t settle for your customers checking the “satisfied” box on your satisfaction surveys. You could have a real problem and not even know it.

Tip No. 4. Customers’ expectation levels are changing. “Meeting their needs is simply not enough in today’s business environment,” Saxby notes. “Your service needs to exceed their expectations. You must continually look for ways to surprise and delight them if you want to stay even with or beat the competition.”

Tip No. 5. The next time a customer tells you that their experience with your utility was “fine,” send him or her a meaningful message and ask what could have been done differently for them to have responded with “great.” “This kind of feedback will help you identify opportunities for improvement, which can only help strengthen your relationship with them,” Saxby says.

About Measure-X [ ]

Measure-X is a measurement, training and recognition company that specializes in customer service and sales skills.

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