What has happened to customer service? My guess is that companies have decided that this is a cost to be cut. The consequences may far outweigh the savings.
In my dealings as a consumer, I have recently needed to contact several customer service departments. I have universally found:
- Automated systems that provide “answers” that are not helpful
- People who are hard to understand (I have no problem with accents most of the time)
And the worst:
- People who are not equipped to do anything but read the same script over and over thanking me for my patience (while they are unable to accomplish anything helpful)
The result is that I will not work with these businesses any longer. Zero. Nada. Not getting another dollar from me. I hope more consumers make the same choice, so that businesses will start to realize that poor customer service has very negative long-term results.
Any business must do more than generate profits for stakeholders if they want to stay in business. Long term success depends on building strong customer relationships. A bedrock of those relationships is authentic customer service.
My advice to owners of businesses of all sizes – never lose sight of the value of authentic customer service. Do not cut resources for this function. Do not automate. Do not outsource unless you are sure quality service will be provided.
The life of your business depends on quality customer relationships. If you are not providing proper service, you are not nurturing the relationships that are core to your success.