BusinessWeek has great article in this week’s issue about customer satisfaction. They highlight some companies that are losing customers through poor customer service. In contrast, other companies have succeeded in creating great customer experiences. Where do you think your company would fit?
In highlighting customer service failures at Dell, Home Depot, and Northwest Airlines, the BW article states that:
each has fallen victim to a seductive fiction: that customer service and operational efficiency are mutually exclusive … [They] are all cases in which executives have lost track of the delicate balance between efficiency and service.
Can you have both an efficient company and great customer service? BusinessWeek says:
Smart companies — Southwest Airlines Co. and Costco Wholesale Corp., to name two standouts — have it both ways. Well-trained workers equal fewer complaints. That means lower costs, a workforce free to make more sales, and happier customers willing to spend more money and tell their friends about it later.
Customer service is not a desk at the back of your store. It isn’t a department isolated from the company. You and every employee of the company are customer service representatives. All your interactions with clients and prospective customers represent the company as a whole.
Unfortunately, many companies entrust their customers to poorly trained staff. This leads to bad consumer experiences that then undermine whatever corporate mantra your CEO is currently touting.
Give your workers the training and tools they need so that they are empowered to solve problems and effectively interact with customers.
Strike the Balance
You can have a great balance between efficiency and service. Don’t let the bean counters run away with the company for short-lived financial benefits. Long-term business success requires happy customers.