Friday, June 07, 2013

Why Do We Suffer from Bad Customer Service?

It is sad indeed. With the continuing technological advancement that are supposed to improve delivery of service, and with the speed by which customer experiences spread across the web, one would think there's no room for lousy service and yet it gets handed to us almost everyday in the form of  loveless burgers, call center agents making excuses for telecom service delays, to botched luggage, rude airline reps who tell you you're being rebooked, etc. Why?

I have a theory and this comes out of my observation . Many companies in the Philippines are not serious about customer service. For example, how many companies here  will say that they have a  fully functioning customer service policy and procedures? Show of hands? Very few.

For many companies here, customer service comes as an afterthought, way after thinking about profit and savings. Many managers see it as merely the manner by which frontliners deal with customers who are inquiring, transacting or are angry. This is also why many think that a customer service program is... tadaaa! TRAINING!

So, what happens? we see a lot of nice frontliners making excuses for the company's inability to deliver on expectations. When we complain about service, we get handled or managed rather than actually served.  When the front line people are dis-empowered to serve, all they can make are excuses and promises they're not sure they can keep.

I think that improving customer service requires embedding it in the company's culture and making it part of the company's major strategy. In short it has to start at the top.

Leadership plays a very important role in ensuring that the organization is able to serve customers well. They put in place mechanisms to achieve customer happiness. They are responsible for seeing to it that there is a system in place, that front liners are equipped and empowered to help complaining customers if they are unhappy with the service. Organizational leaders also manage to learn from negative customer experience by looking into the circumstances of the complaints and then making necessary adjustments in operating procedures to avoid service failures from recurring.  In order to carry out  this role, managers must develop competency at the strategic level; meaning that they are able to view customer service in a much broader perspective and act to develop strategies and policies for ensuring customer happiness, dealing with customer dissatisfaction and developing a system that allow people to learn from their experiences with the customers.

Again, improving customer service requires organizational change. You know that you're getting serious about customer service when see policies changing, performance goals are being reset to focus on how meeting and exceeding internal and external customer expectations, and when processes and procedures are being improved to serve the customers better.

Want help strengthening your service culture? Call me.

2 comments:

Alvin said...

Is that your new video phone, Ed? :D

"Many companies in the Philippines are not serious about customer service" ... because they don't genuinely care about their customers.

Australian telecom company said...

Thanks for sharing your views on this. We must remember that customer service is a vital part of any businesses so enhancing it is a must.

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