Several years after starting Billtrust we felt the need to have a guiding principle for engaging with customers. When you handle millions of bills per month for hundreds of customers, there is a fair amount of questions, concerns, and sometimes complaints from customers. The famous line of "The Customer is Always Right" never felt right to me. In fact, it is seriously debunked here.
After much deliberation (or maybe it came to me in a few seconds but "After much deliberation" sounds far better), we came up with a question as our guiding principal. Every time we need to make a decision, we would ask ourselves "What would the customer want?"
Here's a real example that occurred a few months ago when we strayed from our principal.
A customer sent in a billing file in to be processed that failed processing because it was missing a fax number. A customer service rep immediately called the customer and let them know there was a problem and ask them to correct the file and resubmit it. That’s good customer service.
But is that "what the customer wants"? My guess is no. For something as basic as a missing fax number, maybe the customer just wants that item mailed out instead, or emailed back to them. In fact, you probably don’t know until you ask. That would be great customer service.
Some non-believers will argue, well wouldn't the customer want us to send out all of their bills for free? Well maybe short term they would. But long term if we did that we wouldn't be in business so there obviously needs to be a balance.
We need to earn a customer's business every day because we live in a highly competitive market. This guiding principal has helped us immensely. What do you think?