Service and satisfaction are not the same thing
Being the owner of an old and partially decrepid house from the Victorian era I have from necessity become somewhat useful in filling and fixing and patching and painting. Rarely a weekend goes by when I don’t need to pick up something or other to solve a problem or finish a job. I have become one of those common suburban superheroes called “Home Handyman”.
There are two hardware suppliers near where I live. One of them is an enormous chain with hundreds of thousands of stock items on the shelves. The other is a small neighbourhood place predominantly for the local home handyman market. For me.
The first has a massive advertising budget and constantly tells me through various channels how happy and helpful their people are, how easy it is to park, how big their range is and how cheap their prices are.
The other drops an occasional direct mail piece into my letterbox advising me of their bi-annual sale.
Time and again I find myself in the small, local shop trying to explain that I need a whatchamacallit to step down the thingymajig so that I can get it around a corner to connect to the doovywhatsit. Any one of the five or six friendly staff will nod patiently and take me by the hand to the right place in the shop. They will talk me through the pros and cons of the various options, tell me how they have used this specific one themselves and why it is probably the best for me. Over the years they have become more confident in my abilities and their advice and instruction has evolved accordingly.
Not only do I leave serviced, I leave satisfied. I have the bit I need at a fair price and I have the knowledge and confidence I need to give me a chance of being successful at the job in hand.
Every business should seek to satisfy their customers as well as service them. In B2B situations, customer service relies on people and systems performing quality, predictable and consistent processes. Customer satisfaction is gained from underpinning these processes with a focus on continuous improvement.