by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Management, ServiceTagged as: Customer Service, Service Quality
How often are you disappointed by poor service? For most people, the answer is too often.
The reasons for poor customer service range from poor hiring, ineffective (or invisible) training, poor attitude, and inadequate resourcing. Most customers don’t really care why – they’ll vote with their feet and leave. They will also share their experience online, damaging the brand even further. And forget about referrals.
Online customer service is even more problematic – consider the differences:
In Marketing Services: Competing Through Quality, author Leonard Berry determined that there were five determinants of Service Quality: Responsiveness, Reliability, Empathy, Assurance, and Tangibles. Of these five, his research noted that the majority of service quality issues are connected to Responsiveness, then Reliability. Do well on these two, then you’re good to go.
Consider: using customer service agents with generic email addresses doesn’t engender assurance. Form letter responses are hardly empathetic. And long customer service wait times are the antithesis of responsiveness. The push for efficiency and cost effectiveness cause many businesses to lose sight of the basics. And there is no line item on the balance sheet that says Service Quality: it’s not surprising that customer service is so poorly funded and executed. (There is a line on the income statement though… and it is an expense… that should be minimized.)
Try some mystery shopping in your own business: if you complain, what is the response? How quickly do they respond? Is their response automated, templated, or customized?
Marketing insight: Customer service works on the individual level too. Who do you serve at work, at home, and amongst your friends? How responsive are you when they reach out? And how reliable are you when you make promises – do you always deliver?
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