I’m not sure if it’s the economy or just bad luck, but my customer service experiences recently have been awful. Customer service should have pleasing customers as a general goal. I understand this may cost more, but the funny thing about customers is that you want them and you won’t get that when your representatives run all customers off.
Two of my favorite bloggers, Seth Godin and Joel Spolsky, have commented on the simple act of pleasing customers and the big impact it has. See Joel’s take on customer service and Seth’s many posts, especially apologies and what they mean and the clearance culture.
My desperate plea to employers is really quite simple:
- Empower entry level customer service representatives to solve problems–they are the ones making an impression
- Give customer service representatives respect–they drive as many sales as the marketing department
- Pay customer service representatives fairly–this may require hiring people of a worthy caliber
- Offer customer service representatives a career path–again, you may have to be awake while hiring
- Reduce the overhead in communications–reduce wait times, shorten telephone spiels, etc.
- Go out of your way to thank and appreciate customers–your business does not exist without them!