5 Reasons Companies Fail at Customer Service


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Customer service; it is common sense. You may know how to deliver an excellent customer service experience, but do you?

Not long ago a potential client called my office. We discussed the reason he was calling, the problems he’s having and the results he wanted to achieve. He claimed his employees weren’t executing on the “basics.” Within a day I presented an outline of a proposed program. A week later his response was, “We already know how to do that.”

My response was, “Of course you do. Much of customer service is common sense. Unfortunately, it’s not always so common.” What I really wanted to say to him was, “If you really do know how to do it, then why are you so bad at it?” After all, he already admitted that his people weren’t delivering the basics of good service. What I had proposed is exactly what he needed.

You see, it turns out that most companies do know what to do. They just have a hard time executing. So, if so much of customer service is common sense, then why don’t most people do it better?

There are lots of answers, and here are five of them; common sense answers to why common sense customer service fails:

  1. Companies don’t take the time to hire the right people. Hiring right isn’t just for skill or competence. People have to have some aptitude for customer service, the ability to be trained and they must fit into the company’s culture.
  2. The company vision, at least for customer service, is not clear. Many times it’s a vision that is long and wordy. The best customer service vision statement is one sentence or less in length – and employees get it.
  3. Companies don’t take the time and effort to train everyone in the company. Everyone has to be on board and in alignment with customer service vision. That can only come through training and ongoing reinforcement of the vision.
  4. People who have roles that don’t interact with the customer don’t believe that customer service applies to them. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone has a customer, be it the outside customer or the internal customer. Customer service is part of the culture of a company, not a department with customer service reps. Jan Carlson, former president of Scandinavian Airlines once said, “If you aren’t dealing directly with the customer, you probably support someone who does.”
  5. The customer service is not consistent. The inconsistency erodes confidence. The key is to deliver a positive customer service experience that is consistent and predictable.

There are obviously many more reasons companies fail at customer service. To be successful, it starts with the basics, which are common sense. Sure, most people know it. And, if you’re someone who reads my articles, watches my videos and follows me on social media, I bet you not only know it, you get it, and you deliver.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Shep Hyken
Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. As a customer service speaker and expert, Shep works with companies who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. He is a hall of fame speaker (National Speakers Association) and a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author.


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