Providing satisfactory customer service is a greater challenge now than it has ever been. At a time when isolation has elevated the need for service, finding enough of the right people, and enabling them to promptly and personally answer inquiries or resolve problems, can be a daunting task.
For leaders, this reality offers an opportunity to reconsider the role that customer service plays in their operations. Does it inhibit or drive their growth?
Some see customer service as a cost center, a necessity that creates minimal value. Making cost control the highest priority ensures that your customers interact with the some of your lowest paid employees, and often, there aren’t not enough of them. No recording will long mollify people who are waiting on hold for extended times. Decisions about system upgrades may be made in accordance with internal investment parameters, but rarely do they consider the customers’ perspective, and its impact on the business.
How much of the customers’ time is wasted, how much is frustration amplified, how much money is lost due to delays in resolving customer problems? How many opportunities for repeat business vanish because service level reveal a lack of respect or appreciation for the customer’s business? How much of a customer’s satisfaction is devalued by the attitude of customer service rep focused on cost versus the needs of the customer?
Other leaders recognize that customer service is a revenue generator, a profit center. Here are 3 reasons why:
First, customers who contact you are fully engaged. In these moments, unlike others in which you’ve interacted with them, they are focused on their issue and paying attention to how you react to it. A customer service rep who creates a memorable, personal experience by recognizing the customer, actively listening to the inquiry or need, and providing potential solutions in a prompt, efficient manner communicates respect and appreciation for the customer’s business, boosting loyalty.
Second, exceptional service is a proven, quantifiable differentiator. While it’s very unlikely that you can produce a product that is five times better, it’s entirely possible to significantly overdeliver on the service to customers, delivering exceptional service that’s five times better than what your competitors offer. People enjoy sharing stories, and great service causes them to share their story about how well they were treated by your people; this creates referrals. To your customers, your service folks are your company – and they have unlimited access to your customers.
Finally, your most valuable customers are the loyal ones. It’s been proven many times that providing exceptional service, which saves your customer time and money, builds loyalty that generates additional revenue. While attracting new customers is a necessity, it’s still true that the most productive, profitable means of boosting sales is to increase activity with current customers. Exceptional service delivers repeat customers.
So, investments made to strengthen customer service are repaid many times over through higher customer satisfaction and greater loyalty which drive increased sales and profit.
Is your customer service operation a cost center or a profit center?