"Customer service isn't getting worse. Customer service is getting harder." This was the message
Surveys indicate that customers feel the service they receive is getting worse. A study by the
Here's my take: When it comes to customer service, the customer is smarter than ever. The best companies are becoming benchmarks for others—not just in their own industries but across industries. Companies such as Apple, Amazon, Zappos, Ace Hardware, Ritz-Carlton,
This makes it harder for less customer-focused companies—and that's a good thing. Companies that really want to compete and stand out are being forced to rise to the example set by these customer-service leaders and provide a better experience. While keeping up may require some companies to make adjustments in the way they deliver service, it's good for the customer—and in the long-run for business.
So, how does a small company match the example set by the big guys? Begin by identifying the typical customer's journey. Determine the main touch-points and interactions with the customer. Think of each of these interactions as a link in a chain. If there is a weak link, figure out how to strengthen it. Then look at the sturdy links and determine what might be done to make them even stronger.
Next take a look at what is happening behind the scenes to support these interactions. The systems and people at work behind the scenes can make or break the customer-service experience. Do what you can to bolster those functions.
The truth is some companies just aren't good at delivering customer service. But what about the ones making an effort and still falling behind? Are they really getting worse at delivering great customer service? Maybe not. Maybe they're only lagging in the customer-service arena because the customer has come to expect so much. Maybe it's just getting harder.
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