Not long ago The Wall Street Journal had an article called Customer Service as a Growth Engine. The conclusion was that customer service was going to be key for service organizations to gain market share.
US companies spend close to a $1,000,000,000 (a billion) per year on improving customer satisfaction and yet the customer satisfaction peg has barely moved. One of the biggest reasons are defections to competitors because of dissatisfaction. Over 90% of dissatisfied customers will never purchase anything from your service organization.
Part of the problem lies in measurement. Executives focused on bottom-line results have measures around financials and productivity. But customers don’t care about such things, they care about what matters to them.
Unlike manufacturing, customers in the service business bring a variety of demands to be absorbed. A talked yesterday about why this creates problems for standardization in the post – A Service Assumption: Variety, Not Standardization is the Problem. Customers want service organizations that customize their experience to the variety they bring . . . not droids that comply to internal mandates and audits.
What gets in the way of good customer service is focusing on the wrong things. They spend money on marketing to change the perception of the bad service they provision to build a brand, technology to entrap front-line workers in poorly designed systems and other well-intended, but cost increasing activities. I am not against these things, but I find it better to improve service as more cost and revenue efficient.
Happy customers talk . . . and so do unhappy customers. These days with the emergence of social media good and bad service is communicated quickly to a lot of potential and existing customers. Trust can be lost in one or a few errant transactions.
Building a brand should begin with the customer experience. It is the least costly and most effective way to get and retain customers.
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Tripp Babbitt is a columist (Quality Digest and IQPC), speaker, and consultant to private and public service industry.Share This: