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Why Customer Service Isn’t Enough

customer_serviceCustomer service only gets you so far. And, it doesn’t equal good service.

It’s easy (and common) for companies to claim it’s their service that sets them apart- but does it ever really? Most companies are selling something that is more or less just a commodity. In other words, there are always a lot of other companies selling the same thing you do.

Worse yet, ask a company what makes them special and they’ll usually say it’s their service. Clearly that cannot be true so there is a gap between how companies perceive their strengths and reality.

To many companies, “service” is a reference to their customer service team. While many CSRs and Account Managers are very capable, many times customer service can only attempt to deal with the symptoms of problems which doesn’t help when a solution is needed.

True solutions can only come when there is a real problem solution process. To do this, there needs to be a complete feedback loop with the right people involved.

For example, if you are selling online do you understand why returns are happening and is there data on what’s going on getting back to the right people? Processing returns and handling customer calls is treating the symptom. Preventing the returns in the first place is finding a solution to the problem and improving service.

Here is another example – are there delays with deliveries affecting your customers? Is the cause an issue with lead time and inbound materials or something happening within the operation? Understanding and fixing the problem is the solution. Would that be your company’s approach or do you fall into a daily cycle of putting out fires with no attention paid to actually fixing the problem?

Here are 5 tips for improving service to your customers:

  • Setting proper expectations with clients during the sales process
  • Have a solid onboarding processes
  • Create a communication process that includes all the various functional areas of your company
  • Measure meaningful KPIs
  • Hold periodic customer reviews

These are all basic, but important steps to improving service to your customers.

Providing service to a customer is a team effort. It takes an understanding by operations and all functional areas to provide good service.