Companies seem to either trim the customer service aspect of their business or they fail to consider customer service for growth as their business evolves. The names on the list are long and casualties strewn by the wayside are laden by those that did not adapt while a great number realized the urgency and adapted. What are some of the potential changes?
- Growth is so good that businesses get docile about proper attention.
- Competition who observes a customer service weakness in you exploits it with quality on their own.
- Customers expect more in customer service as an enhancement to the value of their investment.
- The company decides to trim the department because it can be expensive to maintain at the same level without substantial cost increases.
- Products, technology and markets evolve to new channels, new customers, different circumstances and customer service is not fitted to the changing conditions.
In the airlines industry, profitability emerges only from Southwest yet they received a $15 billion bailout after 9/11. How much went to improving customer service amidst the new security chaos? In communications, while there is profit, consumers love to hate all of them. Consumers bounce from provider to provider seeking a reasonable level of service. To compare, women love to buy things from Zappo’s. In Metro Detroit, people walk out of Trader Joe’s actually smiling. Happy people leaving a grocery store?
So what should small to large businesses do?
- Make Customer Service integral to marketing strategy planning and implementation. A well designed and executed program, will deliver more new customers and build customer loyalty than many promotional campaigns.
- Set customer experience strategies horizontally and vertically in the organization. (For explanation, see the next paragraph.)
- Constantly review issues, progress, change and adapt to provide competitive advantage.
- Remember to offer a positive customer service as a priority because this improves the quality of the products and services offered.
- Include employees at all levels. They are the ambassadors. They implement the program at all levels.
Customer service experience is not just a department of telesales representatives ready to chat or e mail, it should be from CEO to sales, from Warehouse to Accounts Receivable, from Human Resources to Legal. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be a simple phone call. It can be a hand written thank you note.
If you know specific causes for degrading customer service experience or strategies that examples that you or your company institute, send a note. Also, indicate the level of success of some of these strategies.