Thursday, September 24, 2015

Has Customer Service Become Better or Worse Today

Digital is the age of customer-centricity. 

Being customer-centric means from strategic making to execution, Customers are the focal point from the cross-functional perspective, and customer delight moves from customer service to customer experience and customer success. However, many customers complain that customer service does not become better but turns to be worse, what are the biggest challenges in improving customer services, and how to overcome the challenges?

It's all about putting back the human factor and mutual respect in our Society. Respect is a must regardless of the customer's approach, not only for the customer but for yourself and the reputation of the company you are representing. Without respect and empathy, Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) could make it worse. CSRs need to remain calm and be courteous at all times. Often, the organization’s focus is on making short-term profit, and being profitable. But money doesn't buy well-being, self-fulfillment or long-term prosperity. Customers want to be looked upon as human beings, and treat customers as you want to be treated.

One of the biggest challenges with today's customer service is that today's customers become much “picky” than ever. You have legitimate complaints from rational customers. These are easy to resolve. Then you have complaints from irrational customers who wish to rant and rave in anger. They make the practice of peasant, accommodating, and gracious customer service quite an unpleasant challenge. In either case, customer service requires, first and foremost great listening skills. In the end, the most important questions to be answered are "why did this complaint exist in the first place and how can we ensure that it never happens again."

A true professional has to be able to deal with every type of customer. Nothing depends by the processes; the Customer Service manager has to know the product/service provided by the company, from A to Z. Each possible customer's query has to be anticipated; you actually have to know more than product managers, because you are the ones dealing directly with the customers pre-sales/after sales. Understand your customers, treat them same by treating them differently. For example, many manager knows there are different ways to manage younger vs. older employees. And emotional types vs. analytical types. Doesn't make one good or bad or better or worse. Just makes them different and the truly skilled manager can support all types and ages. But there are different things that need to be done and taught. In addition, many metrics to measure customer service is quantity driven, not focus on quality, and some are even nothing to do with customers. Rather than using standard metrics, you can build your own custom metrics that suit your organization.

Customer Service needs to be shifted from reactive to proactive mode; from one department’s job to cross-functional collaboration; from “we always do things like this,” to data and analytics driven. Using data and feedback, a company can show agility in providing what the customer is looking for in products and services, and build a customer-centric, high-performing, and high-mature organization.


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