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Customer Service Goal: We Don’t Want You to Come Back

Do you ever get the feeling that some business’ customer service goal is the keep the customer from coming back?
Sometimes, it is an employee’s lousy attitude that makes you feel unwelcome and unwanted. Or perhaps it is some other type of poor service, but the end result is that the customer has no desire to return. It’s not likely that this was the company’s customer service goal.

As I teach about customer service techniques, tools and tactics through books, articles and speaking engagements, I try to impart to companies how to keep customers coming back time and time again. There are times, however, that you might actually have the goal of not having the customer come back. Or, to state it another way, there are time when you don’t want the customer to need to come back.

If a customer calls with a complaint or service issue, you want to resolve the issue and make the customer happy. In this case, he or she doesn’t need to return for the same reason. There is a name for this – first-call resolution – and it is the goal of many customer service support centers. Some companies take it one step further. In the process of resolving the customer’s original problem, they ask questions to try to predict any future problems the customer may encounter and then solve them as well. If they do their job well, the customer won’t need to call back.

This approach can work for other types of businesses as well; it’s not just limited to complaints or call centers. Take Ace Hardware, for example. If you go into an Ace store to buy a can of paint for a home project, the sales associate will try to ensure that you go home with everything you need. The associate will ask questions about the project so you don’t have to return to the store an hour later because you forgot brushes, or rollers, or drop cloths. If he does his job right, you will be fully equipped to finish your project without visiting the store again. But, the next time you have a project to do, where will you turn? You’ll remember the thoroughness and thoughtfulness of the helpful Ace employee and will most like head for Ace again.

So, do you want your customers to come back? Yes and no. Not because they are repeatedly seeking a resolution to an ongoing problem or because you didn’t do your job thoroughly and they are forced to return for something they need. Ask enough questions to be a one-stop shopping destination. However, you do want to be the one the customer turns to in the future – not because they need to, but because they want to.