So what has customer service got to do with creating a differentiated customer experience? Well, depending on what kind of company you are, the answer nothing or everything. For some companies still operating in the dark ages, customer service is the defense. They don’t really want to talk to customers at all, but if they can get through the layers of IVR menus, we need to get them off the phone as fast as possible. Even if the customer service is via email, we firstly direct them to FAQs and knowledge bases.
I recently purchased a MacBook Air for my teenage daughter. Of course, I spoil her; it’s what dads do! My excuse was that her MacBook was too heavy to carry around school all day as well as all her books. It’s an absolutely stunning piece of equipment, but the pack didn’t have Disc One for Mac OS.
I emailed the sales rep at the Apple store in Palo Alto where I purchased it who told me that I would need to pay $100 to replace it! Now after an exchange of ‘robust’ emails, she did eventually apologize, but I had already contacted the European support operation who offered without hesitation to post a replacement CD asap. And this is the key: misaligned or inconsistent after-sales service can all too easily undo the good created by a fabulous product and an outstanding lifestyle brand development. And the damage can be long-lasting, even transferring to other products.
There is a lot of great technology out there and fantastic prices so increasingly it’s service that really makes the difference. Just ask Dell.
So for me customer service has an immensely important role to play in delivering the expectations of the brand and the product as well as creating fabulous customer experiences. All you need to do is work with them and ensure they have the right processes and information, the right performance measures and the time, decision-making authority and skills to ensure customers are satisfied when they call.
It’s not rocket science, but it could send your customer advocacy into the stratosphere.