GUEST POST: When was the last time that senior managers in your organization worked in customer service?
When was the last time that senior managers in your organization worked in customer service?
Customer service is much more important than most companies acknowledge and contributes more than most managers realize.
This post was written after an “instructional experience course” that I participated in at a CEO’s request. He is a customer of mine and he requires that his managers (VP’s of finance, operations, marketing, sales and human resources) work for four hours a month, every month, in the customer service department.
Customer service generates income and contributes to the company’s growth
Customer service is often perceived of as a less attractive position in B2B companies and it is sometimes characterized as such:
- Necessary but not strategic
- Something uninteresting to senior managers, who do not get involved with it
- An an expense, not an investment
- Customer service agents occupy a low post in the organization’s hierarchy
- Sometimes it’s thought of as “on the way” to other roles and not as a career
There is almost no B2B company that I work with that relates to customer service as a central part of marketing operations and as a contributor to growth.
Why is this a mistake?
Customer service is easy to implement in relation to other marketing efforts and it offers significant ROI potential.
Interaction with customers via the service department is unique for a few reasons. First of all, the customer approaches you on his own initiative and requests that you will solve a problem for him which he himself defines and describes.
If you solve his problem he will be satisfied and will continue to do business with you.
Second of all, a service call offers an opportunity for a frank and honest conversation with a customer. This dialogue can be a significant learning opportunity for a company. This dialogue is an important tool for a marketer. During the service agent’s dialogue with the caller, you can learn about the customer’s perception of the company and its products, his take on competitors’ products, how he gathers information that affect his decisions, who influences him and so on.
Third of all, service dialogues allow you to identify problems with the product – A recurring problem indicates a failure with the product or with some other aspect of your efforts.
The fourth opportunity is one that almost no marketer realizes, this is the potential for a viral effect. Once you’ve solved a customer’s problem and impressed him, there’s a good chance that he will share his experience with his colleagues. Excellent customer service creates new customers.
Why is it important to invest in quality service?
Good service compensates for your company’s flaws – Sometimes your product is not perfect, fixing it is problematic or the explanation or user guide for your product is poorly written. Professional customer service can, very often, compensate for such issues.
It is enjoyable work for the right person – People who have a suitable psychological profile for customer service love helping to solve problems. These kinds of people will transform a problem for a customer into an opportunity for the business and will enjoy his work very much.
Everything that has been said, as much as it is true for every kind of company it is especially pertinent to start ups.
What is good customer service?
Good customer service is based on basic principles of communication between people. What you hope will connect well this is what the customer hopes to get from customer service – that it will be easy and fast and convenient, that they will listen to him, that they will help him solve his problem and that they will take responsibility.
This guest post was written by Michael Gally and was originally published on his blog. He has been a lecturer at the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Management in the Graduate School of Business Administration for both the MBA and EMBA programs for the past 20 years. You can follow him on LinkedIn for more posts about business and management strategies.