growth body


Call centers in India with agents trying hard to speak English in their native accent are simply tough to understand! When you finally reach the call center, they tell you it’s another service provider’s problem, not theirs! We call the other service provider and have a similar experience. What are we supposed to do? Other service providers say, we’ll be there between eight and noon or one and five. Have we nothing to do but sit and wait until it’s convenient for their techs to stop by? We miss work, use vacation time, and some even lose pay — in our totally connected world! Is it too expensive or too inconvenient to call us an hour ahead of when service will be there?

The airline, for example, makes you feel like a cow being herded to one or another place. You can’t get a straight answer as to why your flights delayed, such as, perhaps there is bad weather in the south or your plane’s an hour behind schedule. Just volunteering a little information about the situation can go a long way. Seeing as 70 percent of the agents are too busy and are annoyed by our question; that is if you can find an agent! Why would someone who paid hundreds of dollars for a ticket to get somewhere by X time want to know if they’ll make their connection(s) nowadays anyway?

Customer services have become too costly and in some cases too complicated for many companies to provide. Yet the next thing you hear is that no one’s loyal anymore! Well, loyalty comes when you’re being taken care of, shown respect and feel that you’re important to your service provider! When you cut or ignore your customer services or you charge more for fewer services, you’re not making your customers feel warm and fuzzy. Yes, costs go up, but if it appears that you care more about money than your customers; you’re opening a nice, big, wide door for your competitor to take your customers away. In the case of the airlines, there’s pretty much a monopoly so you’re trapped for now. But they’ve left the door wide open!

In the security industry do your customers have many choices? For years I watched national accounts move from one integrator to another at the end of their contracts. The installed technology was not the issue. Service was. Sure, some customers are a pain, but they’re your revenue stream! Companies didn’t want to charge for a project manager because they didn’t feel their price would be competitive and/or the customer would be willing to pay to remove their headaches. I don’t remember anyone asking the customer this. Mind you, this isn’t an issue with just large companies.

 Are you having a problem with attrition, losing old customers although you’re selling new ones, so essentially you’re flat? Are your customers complaining? Or worse, just walking out the door without a word? If you said yes to any of these, you have a customer service problem! The dilemma is the cost of the services; we all know this. But the cost is our problem, not the customers’. Looking at internal ways to better manage service costs is the first order of business. There are service software packages, automated processes and just being clever! Think about your issues and ways to minimize them. It’s nearly impossible to get a customer back, so it’s cheaper to keep them in the first place as sales creation costs are very high.Acknowledge that if a sales person becomes a farmer, they hold on to their customers long term. Companies want their good salespeople out hunting, I get it. But unless you’re eating what you hunt, you’ll need to take care of the customer once you bring them home. Do you know what your customers expect or require to remain loyal? What is your organization’s cost to deliver this? Figure out how to build this cost into your pricing. It’s the management’s job to structure and fund good customer service. Your revenue and growth are directly tied to customer service and ignoring this is dangerous for your business.