The Fallacy of Today’s Customer Service Practices
More and more frequently, people and businesses are publicly reporting their level of dissatisfaction with the service they receive from some of their providers. Recent reports by the American Customer Satisfaction Index show that aggregate customer satisfaction in the United States remains depressed at the lowest level in over a decade. While there could be many economic forces driving this depressed state, there are other basic flaws that are hurting businesses on this particular subject.
Not surprisingly, Integro Success has identified a major lack of basic customer service standards in its operational markets. The business experience shows that most of the problems stem from one single core – these companies operate in a selfish business culture and therefore any attempt at providing customer service is tainted by a culture which is anything but customer focused. While the root of the problem can be simplified to this one aspect, the truth is that dealing with business and organizational culture is quite complex, yet the price associated with not fixing these problems on time results in a decrease of profitability and ultimately the demise of the organization (in one way or another).
Looking into this problem, it must be linked to the greater challenge of creating a sense of ownership and empowerment among all actors of any organization. Creating a culture of ownership, entrepreneurship and accountability is a challenge simply because it isn’t easy – it takes a lot of effort and dedication to see it through and while most people are not comfortable with operating in a state of constant effort, the end result when success is achieved is usually awe-inspiring. Now, let’s take call centers as an example. While most of them have a very structured operational guide and procedures for handling service inquiries, some of them do lack an altruistic understanding of the human sense of responsibility necessary to make an employee empathize with the customer by sentiment and not just spoken words, and find suitable solutions in a timely manner.
The model Integro Success uses with many of its clients, emphasizes on active leadership and personal engagement at all levels. This is the sense of accountability and ownership that we mentioned previously. These concepts are not limited to the performance of a sales force; instead they are meant to apply to the performance of any business unit because to have a successful business culture, every employee in every department must live the culture and comply with its rules and expectations. An effective customer service practice must be one of the key objectives for an organization in order to achieve and even exceed its proposed goals. Customer service must become a practice that facilitates and raises the customer experience as well as addresses any concerns.
To truly thrive in this new business era, organizations must develop the necessary support tools, communication channels and creative solutions in order to satisfy their clients’ needs and surpass their expectations – and surpassing expectations is the new equation to become successful businesses. Integro Success provides the advice and consulting services that small and medium sized businesses need to achieve this goal. Keep in mind that reversing the decline of customer service practices will return the business to a sustainable growth track for many years to come.