Every brand believes that its customer service is excellent. In reality, however, customer service across brands is mediocre. The experience is generally inconvenient, unpleasant, unsatisfactory, sometimes humiliating, and definitely expensive.
Good customer service is an integral part of business. It affects important brand and business objectives like customer satisfaction, loyalty, retention, repeat purchase, up selling and usage revenue. In light of these business implications, there is continuous pressure on brands to improve customers’ perceptions of their service.
Improving customer service should not be that difficult. It can happen if organizations reconsider certain business strategies. In my opinion, the following eight strategies are very important to improve customer service:
1) Incorporate in business planning: The quantum and nature of service requirements are dependent on the activities of many other functions. Organizations should incorporate customers’ service requirements into all aspects of business activities like product design, procurement, production, handling, pricing, communication, people, and culture. This would help organizations to prepare better for service eventualities and at the same time make customer service the responsibility of the entire organization. Telus webmail down
2) Change attitude to service: Despite being a critical business activity, customer service function does not command the same respect that many other functions do. Many perceive it to be dirty, menial, and unpleasant. Service center appearances and resources are always far inferior, especially to that sales and marketing. If an organization treats the service function in this manner, customers are likely to get the same treatment from the service function.
Organization’s attitude to service is a reflection of its attitude to customers. Management has to go far beyond providing mere lip service if the rest of the organization has to respect customer service and customers.
3) Integrate with marketing: Customers are an important marketing resource. They are the most credible brand ambassadors, their word of mouth recommendation is far more effective than all other marketing activities put together. Given its importance to marketing, organizations should make marketing solely responsible for customer care and if necessary create a separate customer marketing function to protect, nurture, and leverage its core assets (customers) far more productively. Integrating it with core marketing will also remove the stigma associated with service.
4) Shed the profit center approach: Many organizations try to make a profit through customer service. In a profit center approach, revenue-generating activities like sales of maintenance contracts, spares, and expensive call charges become more important than the aforementioned business objectives. Selling at low margins is normally the reason for the profit center approach. Attempting to increase profit through service would anyway not work as customers expect service charges also to be low if the product purchase price was low. Expensive service charges would also force customers to choose cheaper third party service providers.