What happened to Customer Service?
Most of us have gone through it…. we purchase a product or service and that inevitable day comes when we have a problem or question about what we purchased. We look up the company on the web and find their site and start looking for a customer service number. That’s when we begin to realize that the manufacturer, retailer or service provider has somehow taken great lengths to avoid being bothered by our seemingly insignificant questions or concerns. Even if we are lucky enough to find a contact number, we are either forced to climb the automated answering tree, or we are transferred to a out of country, contracted “customer services” call center. What happened to companies standing behind their products and services? Is it just not economically feasible for these companies to offer a customer service that they don’t view as a cost/loss to their bottom end? What is the real cost-benefit analysis behind customer service? If you would like the answers to any of these questions…. please press #4.
Dissatisfied customers are, unfortunately, an inevitable fact of business life. How you respond will determine whether the customer shares on social media how terrible your customer service is or will remain loyal to your company. Lots of brands have gone out of business because of poor customer service. More than ever, customers want to be treated with respect. According to the report Customers 2020 by Walker Information in collaboration with Customer Think and the Chief Customer Officer Council, by 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
You can have an exceptional product, however, if you fail to consider how it fits the needs and requirements of your customers you will lose your business. Not listening to your customers is one of the biggest mistakes businesses have ever made and it may lead to the following consequences which may be in some cases irreversible:
• angry customers
• lost business
• damaged reputation
The Bottom Line
Poor customer service has a negative impact on any type of business. However, small businesses which rely on repeat sales and positive feedback for their success are affected most of all. While large corporations can exist with this and have new customers instead of those who have left, small companies will lose their market share. So, what happens to companies which deliver poor customer service?
• Loss of loyal customers
• Loss of potential customers
• Loss of profit
• Loss of reputation
• Loss of employees
• Elements your customers want and need.
Sometimes customer loss isn’t about doing something wrong, it’s about a competitor doing something right. Customer loss surveys can help you understand whether customers are leaving your business due to appealing offers from competitors, and what features of the competition are particularly attractive. Is it pricing? Additional services? A more responsive customer team? A customer loss survey will help you understand how you can improve the quality of your services and understand your competitive landscape. By gathering information about what makes your competition appealing, you can adjust your business strategies accordingly. For example if you cannot beat the lower rates offered by the competition, you may decide to emphasize the quality of your product, service, or customer service more heavily. This type of information may help you understand how you can carve out a niche in your industry.
• Factors damaging your customer loyalty.
Sometimes NBRI’s clients are surprised by the data gathered in a customer loss survey, but frequently the data gathered confirms pre-existing suspicions. Although a hunch or suspicion may be proved correct, organizational strategies are not modified or adapted on the basis of a hunch, nor should they be. A grounded, scientific, research study gives you the evidence you need to spur organizational change. By collecting firm evidence, you have an argument that cannot be disputed. In this way, you can leverage the data to force your organization to confront some difficult truths and address problems that have festered for too long. A customer loss survey can be seen as a call to action that highlights those factors that can damage customer loyalty.
• Reasons customers leave.
Although you may value all your customers, not all your customers will add value to your business. Some clients demand so many resources and time that it detracts from your ability to serve your other customers. Knowing when to let a customer go is vital to the health and well-being of your business. Data from customer loss surveys are a way to understand the characteristics of clients that tend to erode value and demand too many resources. This type of data helps you make wiser decisions about the types of clients your organization should do business with. This type of information also helps your organization make wiser short-term decisions that are beneficial to your long-term strategy.
Customer service operations has traditionally been one of the costliest departments in any manufacturing, wholesale, or retail organization, especially the logistics of a complex field service organization. Considered a cost center that relies on revenue generated by sales and other parts of the business, it has always been the conventional wisdom that streamlining operations and cutting expenses is the only way to maximize profitability of service operations. In fact, according to Inc., “5% increase in operating profit margin equals a 20% increase in profit.”
In today’s digital world, however, there’s a new way of calculating the value of service operations, and it goes well beyond a toll-free number and an email address you answer during your business hours. Actually, you don’t even make the initial value calculations … the customer does. And it works anyway.
Studies indicate that the customer experience journey is no longer dictated by the organization and what they choose to offer. While cost-containment and productivity are useful internal metrics, they rarely productively support customer relationships. Customers are demanding customized, transparent – and perfect – interactions, and if they don’t get what they want, they are taking their budgets to the company that makes that promise.
The opportunities to more effectively and efficiently interact with customers the way they choose, with the information they need, brought about by Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced Mobile Workforce Management Software (MWFMS) have changed service operations from a cost center to a revenue generator. A study by Avaya and BT Research found that 82% of consumers will buy more from companies that make it easier to do business with them. According to Harvard Business Review, “Profit and growth are stimulated primarily by customer loyalty.
Loyalty is a direct result of customer satisfaction. Satisfaction is largely influenced by the value of services provided to customers. Value is created by satisfied, loyal, and productive employees. Employee satisfaction, in turn, results primarily from high-quality support services and policies that enable employees to deliver results to customers.”
Companies need to provide a more immersive experience – seamlessly and transparently – without interrupting service delivery to add customer-centric features once they realize they’re lagging the industry.
So how can you find more opportunities to cultivate the loyal, profitable customers that simplify your service delivery and maximize your profitability? How can you proactively evolve your customer offer past sales and break-fix provide all that customers are looking for?
The most important – and easiest — way is to leverage the knowledge of those individuals who know your customers best, who have developed relationships with them … your employees. By turning your customer service team, especially your field service employees, into sales advocates, you are organically adding to your sales team – and your potential for maximizing profit.
Best-in-class organizations are investing in technology and knowledge capabilities for their field service teams, allowing them to deliver superior service and more first-time resolutions in this new age of customer expectations. These tools not only provide regular insights into field operations, they also enable reporting for measurement and continuous improvement.
At Kusic and Kusic Private Investigators, Customer Services is paramount to our day to day business. We provide “live person” customer service from our qualified, professional management staff to all inquires made into office. At Kusic and Kusic you can know that your questions or concerns will be immediately heard and a timely answer will be given…..customer service comes first!
Kusic and Kusic Inc. has been in the Private Investigative industry for the last 24 years and provides top quality services confidentially to both private individuals and corporations.
Photos courtesy flickr