Ever Thought About ‘Selling’ Service?

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Here’s what the Customer Service industry is missing: a service catalogue.

A what? It’s like a product catalog, only for service.

Your service in fact. The one you provide to your customers, courtesy of your customer service operation. It’s strange but true that service professionals never think of telling their customers what they ‘sell.’ For a product marketer, this would be the equivalent of forgetting to get dressed before going in to work!

Let me scene set a little more while you figure out if I’m nuts or onto something we might have all missed.

Why Product Marketing Is Smarter Than Service Marketing (for now)

The ‘no service catalog’ is a long standing soapbox topic for me. I was reminded about it again when I had the pleasure of being a guest presenter at one of the world’s top high fashion brands.

It was great. I was in a beautifully decorated environment, surrounded by beautiful people who sell beautiful things. Even my presentation on the wonderfully expensive LCD screen looked its Sunday best. I was in heaven.

I’m sure I won’t be rocking your boat by telling you that selling at a premium price needs an equivalent product.

It has to look the business. And that comes down to exquisite design and execution. I don’t know what their ‘little blue book’ contains for those entrusted with materials sourcing, manufacture and packaging. But it must be a work of immense detail and clarity, given the conscious branding effort put in everywhere else. Even the refrigerators were ‘on message!’

This is something I admire about people who make things. They have the good fortune to immediately see if their product quality is rubbish. Whereas we in the customer service industry can ignore the fact that the IVR has ‘bits’ missing, or that a customer journey has been ‘sown’ into a dead end.

You must have watched a shopper carefully examine the quality of a line of stitching before buying a garment. That’s why the same shopper gets frustrated at sloppy service delivery. The comparison in her mind is all too obvious.

So my point is this: why do we in the customer service industry still feel it is OK to duck out of being clear with customers what we deliver?

As a sign of our growing maturity, we need to make it clear what the customer can expect and produce our equivalent of product labelling. It’s called your service menu.

This is what I mean:


Launch Your Own Service Catalog (you might be first)

Figuring out answers to this type of checklist becomes the basis of your service catalog which is then promoted to customers in the same way that product catalogs already are.

Having issued this challenge many times before, I can anticipate the way you have been shaking your head and thinking about all the reasons why this is a bad idea. So let me leave you with two further thoughts.

Imagine yourself as a customer being offered this. Would it have a positive or negative impact? Secondly, what would such a challenge do to catalyse everyone in Customer Service and raise their game to the point that they could offer a defined, guaranteed service with confidence?

It’s worth a chat at the next team meeting at least!

PS. The groundwork for producing effective customer service options is laid out in this associated post “Thinking About Multi-Channel“.

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