You only have to google customer service to see how severely the level of customer service has dropped in the past 5 years. Site after site are detailing episodes of the falling levels of customer appreciation, never mind customer service.
You have your own stories too, no doubt. The restaurant that hurries you through your first courses only to routinely ignore you while you salivate thinking of all the deserts that you will order when they finally get to you. The sports shop where the manager rolls his eyes when you ask to look at an expensive item outside of its wrapping. The service provided by Telecommunications companies over the phone, where each call results in being transferred 4 or 5 or 6 times. The ISP provider who does not provide 24*7 help service and when you can eventually advise them of a (simple) malfunction, it takes 28 hours to rectify. The international freight carrier who holds you to its 3 week deadline for reporting damage, even though you were away for the 3 weeks immediately following the delivery of the goods. The café employees who discuss customers in front of other customers. The stories go on and on, and can be horrifying.
What is the Reason?
It is extraordinary that customer service has dropped so rapidly across so many product and service sectors around the same time. In my experience here in Australia, it began the decline about 3 or 4 years ago. The reasons are sure to be simple when they emerge — the entry of GenYs into the workforce, a reluctance of businesses to provide good induction training or ongoing learning and development, the outsourced call centre phenomenon, lower expectations of consumers. What do you think the reason is?
A source of strategic advantage
No matter the reason, I believe that customer service will be one of the most important strategic issues facing businesses within the next 3 to 5 years. Those who provide excellence in this area will have a strong strategic advantage over their competitors.
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Indra Process and Performance Consulting
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