Rethinking Customer Service

From the CEO's Desk

Rethinking Customer Service

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Customer Service

Many organizations invest heavily in products, brands, and operations, yet do not budget adequate resources to support the most important part of the process—the ultimate sale. An integral part of the ultimate sales process in customer service. We know that when a customer is dissatisfied they tell all their friends and anyone else who will listen. A comprehensive customer service program and managing customer expectations can eliminate that from happening.

From the promotion to the marketing to end sales, customers develop an idea of what they want and expect from a product or service. Sometimes problems arise from their expectations being inflated along the way from ambiguous language used in sales promotion and marketing. That causes the customer to be dissatisfied because they were expecting more. Other times the dissatisfaction is caused by misuse of the product because the directions were not clear.

In-house customer service programs must be an integral part of any company’s policies and be must be properly funded and supported by senior management. Customer service is as much of a sales advantage as promoting a product or service and should become an integral part of advertisements and other promotions. We all know it costs more money to get new customers than to retain existing ones. Therefore, it is cost effective to keep existing customers happy. An effective customer service process will create value for the company and contribute positively to the bottom line.

Problem Resolution
Customer problems and areas of dissatisfaction should be analyzed to determine if the problem was experienced by one, a few, or many customers. If the latter was the case,
a product recall may be in order. Another question to be addressed is who should resolve the customer’s problem and how much latitude they have. The degree of empowerment should be spelled out by the company’s policy.

Some of the areas that need to be detailed for a customer service check list might include developing a customer service policy supported by a training process, criteria for empowerment, adequate financial support, and support from senior management. Most of all, survey customers at least once a year to obtain input about their attitudes toward your organization and your customer service.