Customer Service- a lost art?

Where did all the good customer service go?  Seem’s like more and more consumer-centric businesses are outsourcing their customer service reps to offshoring countries, and/or  shuffling their customer service away from a personal approach to an automated service.

If you call your bank/phone provider/cable operator/credit card company, have you noticed a deployed auto-teller asks you to speak your requests?    The bank says the auto-attendant is put in place to “better assist” your request.  I don’t think so.  The purpose of this “auto” type of system is to reduce working expenses(people) for the business.  More and more businesses are cutting back on services that actually serve the customers needs. i.e; customer service.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a stickler for customer service.  Think about it, the reason you’re in business is to serve.  You serve your customers and they pay you, and you generate profits.  I think in today’s cut-throat economy and global competitiveness, a business can truly differentiate with outstanding customer service.  I “hypothesize” that people would pay more for better customer service.  Customer service can also affect customer loyalty.  Think about this; brands are constantly competing for a slice of your wallet.  Consumer’s do not hold loyalty to one-brand.  Upset a consumer, and they’ll switch to your competitor in a second.  AND- they’ll tell their friends advocating your negative reputation.

A couple of suggestions for brands to improve customer service:

1.  Have a person answer a customer’s phone call.  Do away with auto attendant’s.  No matter how big your company find a way to have  a live person pick up my call.

2.  When transferring, conduct a “warm” transfer.  This ensure’s that I do not have to repeat why I’m calling.  It’s extremely frustrating to spend 15 minutes with one-person only to start over.

3.  Follow-up.  A day or two after the call, have a live person call me and make sure that my needs were met.  Make sure they express gratitude for my business.

4.  Think about what your customer wants and help them get it.  Think creatively to solve a problem.  Be a problem solver.  This tells me that you care about me, and truly want to help.

5.  Bend the rules.  Enable your managers to bend the rules at their discretion to help resolve a problem.  There’s nothing more frustrating than spending time inquiring about an issue or requesting help, only to walk away empty-handed.

No matter how big your market share or how cool your products are, don’t overlook customer service.  Unresolved issues=unsatisfied customers.  Unsatisfied customers are harmful to your reputation.  Please remember its people like you and I who keep you in business.  Why jeopardize our loyalty?


One thought on “Customer Service- a lost art?

  1. Customer service « GailWrites

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