Does your company suffer from “service schizophrenia”?


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The majority of conversations about a brand are about its service and product quality. If your company manages to offer a decent product and an honest service to its customers, than you need not worry about what will be said about your company.

The above statement has been proven in numerous surveys, but anyone with a good sense of logic will know this is evident. Nonetheless many companies have only just discovered that consumers talk about them. Social media make the consumers’ conversations visible. A company which has been offering a poor service for years is only now being confronted with the harsh criticism.

As a reaction to the sometimes nasty online comments, certain companies have started offering a splendid online customer service. An increasing number of companies manage to help their customers rapidly and effectively via the digital channels. The feedback which follows is extremely positive usually.

Of course we have nothing but praise for such an online service. However the challenge lies in also offering that good online service to the customers via other service channels.

In one of our recent surveys 12% of the consumers indicated often experience different levels of service at the same company, for example there is a strong online service, but the offline channel gives a different experience, or the other way around.

I fear that a number of companies suffer from ‘service schizophrenia’. Service schizophrenia confuses the customer. Receiving a good service via channel 1 and a bad one via channel 2 is a strange experience.

In the long term service schizophrenia will lead to an overflow of questions to certain channels and a decrease via other channels. I myself prefer to choose online channels when I need help. In general the Twitter channels are manned by people to whom service really matters. This means that the communication will be rapid and clear, which I appreciate enormously. If everybody thinks the same way, I wish the ladies and gents of the main brands’ Twitter accounts good luck.

Time for the bitter conclusion: even if your company performs perfectly in online services, for example, the total image of the company will not be positive if the other channels’ performances towards the customers are inferior.

In order to get to positive conversations about your company, offering a strong Twitter service is not sufficient. There is only one way to get to positive and impactful conversations, and that is by offering a correct customer experience via all possible channels. Service schizophrenia is the painful way of learning that a good service is not a part of the company culture.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steven Van Belleghem
Steven Van Belleghem is inspirator at B-Conversational. He is an inspirator, a coach and gives strategic advice to help companies better understand the world of conversations, social media and digital marketing. In 2010, he published his first book The Conversation Manager, which became a management literature bestseller and was awarded with the Marketing Literature Prize. In 2012, The Conversation Company was published. Steven is also part time Marketing Professor at the Vlerick Management School. He is a former managing partner of the innovative research agency InSites Consulting.


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