Wednesday, 23 September 2015

What has happened to Customer Service?

A good buddy of mine and me often get together and discuss how our experience with the service from different companies is painfully getting worse. Either he or I regularly experience really poor service from one company or another. We then ring and share our experience.

It happened to him again recently and he dutifully reports in and explained his experience again. It got us discussing what is it that is causing this regular experience. Why is it that companies on such a regular basis let us down in this department and why is it that when you do experience good service it stands out  so glaringly.

We came up with a few that we feel are all contributing and they are listed below. I would be interested in hearing if you feel we have missed and what specifically they might be.

Our list:
·      Australia hasn’t experienced a recession for over 25 years. There are multiple generations who have never had to run a business at a profit during difficult times. So anyone who entered the workforce at or after 1990 falls into this bracket. Assuming they were 20 at the time means any one younger than 45 hasn’t really experienced what it takes to run a company profitably in difficult times. How many of the customer service departments of companies today are run by someone at or younger than 45? We think there are quiet a few. So the demands on customer service and consequences for not providing first class service haven’t been great for quiet some time. Do you feel a change in the wind coming?
Which raises the question – what are you doing in your business to prepare for and to thrive from this change in the wind?
·      Cost cutting initiatives often transfer costs from the company to the customer. The airline websites are a clear example of this. In today’s Internet driven world the effort in finding suitable flights, making and paying for the booking is pushed back up the supply chain to the customer.
·      Businesses are becoming comfortable with the disconnection brought on by technology. Telephone and Internet providers are another example. Have you had a problem with their service and tried to get service recently? You are provided with a list of things to try while you wait on the line for a customer service person to answer your call. You are told one million four hundred and twenty three thousand six hundred and twenty three (1,423,623) times how important your business is to them. You are told that the call will be recorded for customer service improvement purposes – yet it never improves. Who listens to these things? An finally when the calls are actually answered by a human being, those behind the keyboards are comfortable hiding behind the screen/phone line. They can get you to do all the work, unplug this, re-plug that, restart this and take a photo of that and send it to us.

Something serious is missing here don't you think? What do you think it could be?

© David Ogilvie 2015 All Rights Reserved

David is a global expert in profitability improvement and maximising investments in ERP systems.