What to Watch for in Customer Service in 2012


Share on LinkedIn

As the end ends it is time to think about ramping up for the 2012 year. With the numerous uncontrollable factors of politics, economics and technology many firms have fallen away from customer service efforts. As expressed many times in these blogs, unless the organization adopts a culture of customer service there is no culture.

The reason that customer service is so vital to every organization includes the following:

  1. Less Cost – As current clients tell existing customers of your products and services, they become marketing avatars through buzz marketing. Costs decrease due to a lack of need for advertising.
  2. Increased Productivity – Content customers stem from a cooperative workforce culture. A cooperative culture leads to higher workforce productivity.
  3. Less Labor – The increased use of social media and the Internet enable (content) customers to quickly connect with others that might be interested in your services. Customers do the work for your organization.

Let me be clear, customer service is one of numerous things organizations can do to remain close to clients. However there is overwhelming evidence today where many organizations simply ignore customer service for profits. Ignoring the issue can quickly harm shareholder return, creating obstacles to your success and revenue.

In volatile times it will be necessary for organizations to remain ahead of the curve rather than chasing it. There are many issues at hand and organizations must follow or remain ahead of the curve. Avoiding trends or becoming cocky towards them might mean the difference between surviving and thriving.

Here are some of the top customer services trends for 2012 to help keep organizations ahead of the competition:

  1. Communication is Key – The only way to build solid relationships is with consistent and relentless communication. Direct calls, email, Skype etc. are required to ensure clients keep organizations top of mind.
  2. Customers Want Input – Today customers want to engage in every level of the organizational experience. Even though they do not purchase stock, product and service acquisition still makes them a shareholder. With that in mind, customers need to be a part of research, development and culture. Don’t believe me then ask the Gap. Most recently the firm changed its logo and caught hell from customers. Trust me customers matter.
  3. Don’t Just Give Service – While watching a recent video of Tony Hseih of Zappos he spoke of a six-hour customer service call. Customer service is not about reading from a script it is about resolving issues and ensuring client happiness.
  4. It Begins Internally – The people you hire must be completely impassioned with servicing the customer. This means smiling upon entry and even engaging the customer with great questions that illustrate a peer relationship. Getting to know them and becoming genuinely interested in their business is very opportunistic for the customer service organization.
  5. It’s about Culture – One of the best methods for doing this is to develop a mystery-shopping program. If you are not familiar with this all one needs for is arranging for a “stranger” to shop your establishment they way a customer would. Have them call in or visit and annotate all that is said and experienced. Walk your business to ensure what you say it what is being done. While one sandwich fast food firm prides itself on service most recently during a very busy period two counter folks decided to take their break increasing wait times. This is not service client’s expect.
  6. Make it Easy or Easier – Clients expect phones to be answered by people not voice mail. And websites should be easy to use and navigate. Stop making things easier for you; make them easier for the client.
  7. It is about Trust and Respect – 98% of every interaction involves trust and respect. Ensure you establish rapport with every client. Your call center is only as good as your back-end operation. If a rep tells a customer that a package will be shipped in two days, make sure your distribution center fulfills that promise.
  8. The Boss Must Be Involved – Clients own the brand and expect to be engaged directly with management. When management feels they are too good or too busy to deal with customers they are in the wrong business. Similar to the General Manager or Executive Chef that asks patrons about the meal, executives must engage with clients. “You are as good as the service of your last customer.”
  9. It is as much internal and external – Firms need to employ internal customer architecture. If organizations cannot treat employees right internally what do you think will happen externally?

© Drew Stevens PhD. All rights reserved.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Drew Stevens
Drew J. Stevens Ph.D. (Dr. Drew) is the author of Split Second Selling and the soon to be released Ultimate Business Bible and six other business books on sales, customer loyalty, self mastery and business development solutions. Drew helps organizations to dramatically accelerate revenue and outstrip the competition. He conducts over 4 international keynotes, seminars and workshops per year.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here