Thursday, February 3, 2011

Anybody listening to the customer?

Blogging after a long time...to begin with, let me put a question.. How do we react to bad customer service?? Press 1 to toss the phone, 2 to yell at ourselves, 3 to pull our hair, 4 to dissolve into tears, 5 to do all of the above or 6 to reach a customer service associate-although it seems exasperatingly polite and jargon-dripping voice from over the phone (usually unable to help) is the face of customer service of the modern times. On top of it, the delicious irony is that to disapprove /condemn an organization on its Facebook page (the most talked about flavour of the season), we have to register our Like for it first.

How has customer service changed in the past decade, that started off with people getting more relaxed with the internet and now moving onto social media where, it would seem, it’s so simple to draw a company’s attention to how it hasn’t paid any attention to its customers. Promptness has become very significant. Earlier the promise of a visit on Saturday has moved on to Saturday between 12-1 p.m. because customers don’t have the time to wait for hours. Earlier there would be somebody at home all day, but the situation is not same now. Thus, most of the service visits are made after 7 p.m. or on the weekends

Customer service campaigners scrutinize mammoth technological revolution in the past decade has changed the expectations of customers drastically. One can now bypass the tedious queues and book railway tickets online and bank and buy through the internet. The flipside is that the barriers have plummeted, several businesses of the same kind have proliferated and customer service has become a hygiene factor. Business houses, these days are investing in technology thinking it will make the customer happy but they are spending only to be in the race of business. And in this process, they are only focusing on customer acquisition and not on retention. A million dollar question that arises now is whether these companies have the back-up systems to manage the load? Customers of today are much more empowered and enabled, thanks to technology but the core driver needs to be sensitive. Speed of response is a necessary component, but that does not call for an automated response. It’s not only hi-tech but a hi-touch that is important today. People want a voice and a business deal is not just sales, but the total experience with the organization. Products have become commoditized and customer service is the major differentiator. The biggest challenge for the senior management is to institutionalize customer relationships..

1 comment:

SAYANTAN said...

Very interestingly Ma'm after reading your blog and with no ulterior motives whatsoever,I do recall another extremely invigorating article on institutionalization of customer relationship that came if I am not wrong sometime in late January in Brand Line...indeed,in my humble and largely inconsequential opinion it has become vital for any organisation to really differentiate itself from the clutter by means of de-linking the more recently emphasied remote channels and adopt a more humane face of the setup as a whole...infact,a case to point that reaffirms your vivacious argument is that of a Swiss wrist watch and and Indian wrist watch from a big industrial house of unfathomable if not lately a little dubious repute...with the good or mis fortune of possessing both,I was lately forced to give them for service on two consecutive months...the Swiss watch company not only arranged for a pick up and drop off post service,but kept me informed all throughout on phone...as to its Indian counterpart,after spending about an hour attempting to explain to the technician the probable reasons as to why the watch was not working(pretty ironic when he was supposed to be the expert!!)...I got a sms that my "Your writwach is ready"(sic) after two weeks.And the icing on the cake was the fact that Indian watch was actually costlier than the swiss one by about 50 grands...I really feel that at least in this nation,those who matter will not care to lend a ear unless we the customers force them to do so by collective action and in the process your writeup does act as a crucial clarion call...