Despite the economic crisis, the rise of the “Social Customer” and the popularity of Customer engagement strategies through Social Media, I sometimes get the feeling that managers in Customer Services put in a lot more effort to ensure the company does not get bad press, or negative “buzz” in stead of providing a better then expected Customer service experience. We know companies do not always take Customer service seriously. I think though many managers of Customer Services should start taking their discipline a lot more serious than they are doing today..
Apart from the fact that it is useful to improve waiting & ticket-processing times, Customer’s self-service capabilities, complaints handling, first contact resolution, quality monitoring scores and what have you.. I believe there is a necessity for a more fundamental change in both the mental model and governance systems guiding current design and execution of Customer Services operations. Not only because great Customer service can be a differentiator, but mostly because Customer service needs a (mental) makeover for it to really become one.
The best service is no service
To date, the best proxy for good and effective Customer Services (operations), has been set by Bill Price, with his book (and proven methodology) “The Best Service is no Service”. You can see a good summary in this slidesharepresentation.
Key to the methodology is that it very closely looks at what contacts are of value to the Customer and to the company, continuously eliminating contacts that are of no value to both, by means of improved processes etc. Furthermore reducing time and Customer effort as well as implementing self-service capabilities for high value contacts to Customers OR company. Last, but not least, investing in those contacts regarded valuable to both Customers AND company.
The methodology basically prescribes you to:
- Listen to “What (y)Our Customers Are Saying” (WOCAS)
- Improve your products and processes so that you do not get repeat contacts and many complaints
- Implement self-service with the utmost rigor possible
- Use the remainder of contacts to do smart up- & cross-selling
- Segment your service (e.g. better service for high value Customers)
This post is an iteration of this post in a Dutch digital magazine. Wim Rampen wrote that article in collaboration with me.