Customer Service Isn't Extra--It's Why You Have A Job

Jan 24 2014, 11:32am CST | by

Customer Service Isn't Extra--It's Why You Have A Job

Customer service isn’t extra.

It isn’t optional.

It isn’t at your discretion.

It isn’t a “when you get around to it” item.

It isn’t something that, to your customer, feels like a frill.

Customer service is, in many cases, a fundamental reason we continue to have a job.  A company.  Prospects for financial survival–and even for growth.

Customer service isn’t optional.

Each of these four words is simple. Understandable.  None longer than three syllables. None of it in the customer experience jargon we consultants and speakers can lapse into, myself included.

Yet the sentiment is easy to overlook throughout a company culture.

There are differentiated prices on the wine we pour for guests (the Rioja vs the Merlot, the Pinot Grigio vs. the Chardonnay).  On the cars the automotive industry sells (C class vs S class, sunroof vs cabriolet).   On the hotels rooms we rent out:  standard vs corner vs suite.

But by and large the service costs about the same. And it’s a charge that’s never (o.k., rarely) itemized.

The trap is to unwittingly start to think that the service, therefore, isn’t being paid for.

It is.

In fact, the service could be the most important part of what they’re paying for. Test after test shows that almost anybody can be fooled as to the vintage and quality of the wine they are drinking (I know: they never tested you, and you’re the exception.) But whether they’re being snubbed or catered to:  Your customers can all tell.

As far as the hotel rooms: there’s long been an object lesson in this lurking on the strip in Vegas. A hotel room should really be really the ultimate in commoditization, right?  four-ish walls, one-ish toilets, some lamps, hopefully a good bed.  And in the case of Four Seasons and Mandalay Bay,  the rooms are in the same building.  Separated by identical walls.  Guests flush identical toilets.  The only difference is the service.  And that’s plenty of difference to keep the more expensive hotel thriving.

So, tell your employees, your suppliers, your CEO: customer service isn’t extra.  It isn’t free. It’s actually what the customers are paying for.  And they can stop paying, just as easily, if they don’t get it./>/>

PS Seth Godin calls this same problem, when applied to products, “the buffet problem.” his post  is great.

Source: Forbes Business


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