Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bring Back Customer Service

Two of the first things to be cut in a struggling economy are training and customer service. Interestingly, both are viewed as costs but are, in reality, profit centers.

I have written about training in depth, so in this blog I will concentrate on service.

With businesses struggling, they are becoming more and more dependent on offering products and services at reduced prices to generate sales to keep themselves afloat. However, businesses must have a strategic plan centered on low prices for this tactic to work. If not, they could be causing long term damage that will be difficult for their business to recover from.

Remember the following "Jay Goldberg" truths:

People brag about getting low prices.
People recommend when they receive excellent service.

So low prices bring businesses bargain hunters through word of mouth;
while excellent service bring businesses customers through word of mouth.

Conclusion: If your business is a discount provider of goods and services, then the low price result fits into your business model. However; if your business is not a discount provider of goods and services, then low prices could be causing long term problems for your business.

Providing superior service, therefore, could be a good alternative to reducing prices; especially for a business looking to be around for the long haul.

However, be aware that customer service is a science, not an art. There is a right way and a wrong way to provide customer service.

Most businesses employ a "seat of the pants", or a "this is what I would want, so this is what I'll give my customers" approach to service delivery. That usually doesn't work. Remember, the goal of providing superior customer service is to add to the business' bottom line; not to feel good about what you are doing. There is a trade-off between service levels, expected revenues, and costs. And proper customer service needs to be taught to employees, not left to their discretion.

As a first step, my book, How to Get, Keep and Be Well Paid in a Job (click here for more details), has a chapter on customer service. That chapter includes some basic skills you can learn and teach your staff. To learn more about my background in customer service (former Service Director for Citibank where I was employed from the late 70's to early 90's) and some services offered by my consulting firm, click here.

See you in my next post.


Outsource Call Center said...

Nice post! I believe that companies need to provide customer service for them to increase your sales and make the customer satisfied with your services. Anyway, thanks for sharing.

excel courses sydney said...

Economy and customer services are really profit center.It help to increase sales and make customer services.Thanx to share with us this kind of information.

Jay Goldberg said...

I'd love to know what you think of the book after reading it.

Tony said...

I just found you and I like your post and I completely agree. Customer service is the key, but a lot of company's just don't do it. Keep up the good work.

Jay Goldberg said...

Thanks Tony.