#1 Posted: 12 Jul 2013 13:58
Customer service is a term that is used in a wide variety of situations, sometimes when it doesn't really apply. Perhaps you can think of a department called «Customer Service» that didn't really fit the definition. Or, a company's «customer service» calling system with automated prompts and responses that makes you believe you will get to talk to a real customer service representative, but instead simply causes you frustration and you eventually hang up. Maybe you are hopeful enough to try again, and you think this time you are getting connected ... but instead, it's a recording telling you how long your wait will be. And it's 30 minutes. Or 40, or even longer.
And this is what some companies call customer service?
Call centers are necessary to some types of businesses, and there are some that are doing it right. Recently, I worked with Verizon Wireless and learned about its goals and strategies, which include answering calls quickly and offering «one call resolution.» The call centers created consistent positive experiences, which led to happy customers. The consistency is the key — it fosters confidence, which ultimately can lead to customer loyalty.
In the overall world of customer support, however, Verizon stands out as an exception to the rule. Too many other companies only think they are offering customer service, when in reality they are not. Where does the difference lie? And how can companies be sure to deliver true customer service on a consistent basis?
Put simply, customer service should not be thought of as a department. It must be a pervasive philosophy that is ingrained in each person in the organization. Each employee, no matter his or her position, must be dedicated to serving both internal and outside customers.
A great example of this type of service is practiced by Disney. The company teaches its employees (known as «cast members») that they are responsible for three things. All employees are responsible, first, to do the job they were hired to do. Second, no matter what their particular job, they are to take care of the guest, and third, to help keep the park clean. This philosophy puts every employee's focus on the guest, and an attitude of true customer service pervades the entire company.
«Sometimes» is not a word that would be associated with the customer service offered by Disney. All of its employees are dedicated to customer service ... all the time!