Are you managing your customer service function as a cost center or as a profit center? How much of your customers’ satisfaction is impacted by your customer service reps?
Exceptional customer service is a proven differentiator. When access to information is so effortless that many products are seen as commodities, when the life cycle of a technical competitive advantage is a long weekend, then it should become clearer that your people are your most sustainable competitive advantage.
Your customer service reps have the potential to create uncommon, memorable and personal experiences for customers. They are often the individual face by which your customers view your impersonal organization. Even today, when technology is ubiquitous, people prefer to buy from people – technology is just the enabler. Your success is determined by how robustly all of your people, but especially your customer service reps, believe in your purpose and values, and how consistently they demonstrate them.
If you’re investing more effort to measure the time spent supporting a customer rather than the level of a customer’s satisfaction, then it’s time to reconsider. These statistics indicate that reconsideration is overdue:
- When asked who is empowered to resolve customer problems, 48% responded that assigned sales reps have this authority, followed by 38% who cited managers; only 30% mentioned the customer service reps as being so empowered. How much time is wasted, how much customer frustration is increased, how much money is lost due to delays in resolving customer problems?
- When asked how customer service efforts are measured, 51% cited increased sales and 48% mentioned greater brand awareness; only 35% mentioned customer retention. Yet increasing activity with current customers is still the most productive means of boosting sales.
- When asked how much investment is planned for customer service in the coming year versus last year, 45% cited no increase; only 34% indicated that they expect to increase their investment. Sustaining exceptional customer service in a highly dynamic market with rapidly evolving technology typically requires some year-to-year added investment.
Survey your customers, and survey your employees, particularly those who support your customers. Invest in your sustainable competitive advantage. Empower your customer service team and measure the resulting sales increase from your existing customers.
How are you measuring the return on your customer service?
What can you better empower your customer service reps to quickly resolve customer problems?