As it appeared in the daily nation of February 24th 2015
How often do Customer Service news make it to the headlines? For example; thousands of customers not happy with the continued power outages or students hold a press conference to complain about long wait for exam results or customers boycott hotel following numerous complaints about the quality of food or bank launches state of the art customer contact centre to respond to increased social media requests or it now only takes a maximum of 2 minutes to check out at the store down from an average of 15minutes last year. Despite such stories not getting regular business news numerous changes continue to happen in the world of customer service.
Today’s customer is different in many ways. He is more informed about product quality, about pricing and even about his rights. Many customers today will compare prices online, send email requests to multiple companies or read online reviews before making a purchase. In addition customers will expect warranties, expect that return / refund / exchange policies are in place or simply expect to be listened to. The customer who is today less forgiving has also been greatly empowered by social media. Many are using social media to vent out, to share their feedback and even to request for service via public forums. The days of suggestion/complaints boxes may be long gone however just recently such a box was making news in an organization that is possibly lagging 2 decades behind. Reviewing business online has become the new trend with service leaders confident about their service quality proactively sending customers online to read and share reviews. Businesses that put the customer at the core of their existence will continue to reap the full benefits of putting the customer first.
Today, customers do not have to visit an office for a service, a bank for a transaction or a restaurant for a meal. The ability to access service through multiple channels, the proliferation of mobile and online services, self service and home deliveries means that customers can receive a service at the comfort of their homes. Businesses that make it easier for their customers to do businesses with them will undoubtedly create customer advocates and continue to excel.
Many other aspects are new in the customer service arena. Many businesses have today become more aware and intentional about their customers’ experiences. They have integrated customer service into their strategic direction, emended it into their culture and they have a senior member of management leading the agenda. In addition technology has become a key service driver. Service leaders are becoming more innovative in how they utilize technology to capture customer information, communicate and even serve the customer all in an effort to improve customer engagement. Consumer lobby groups too are on the rise. They have become the customers’ mouth piece and an avenue for escalation of customer dissatisfaction. What is making news in customer service in your organization?
Some say customer service has become the new proactive marketing while others say it is the new public relations. I simply like to say a renewed focus on customer service is not only making news but it is making a difference in businesses; it is the new growth, sustainability and survival strategy!
Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer and can be reached on email@example.com/old or via twitter @kiruthulucy