Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Why Is Customer Service So Difficult?

I was thinking about something the other day. I believe that most people, left to themselves, would treat others as they would like to be treated. At a minimum, they at least would not treat people badly. Yet, when we put people together and call it a company, we find that the treatment received is less than adequate. Therefore, individuals, by nature, would tend to give good customer service, but the firms they work for, don't. Why is that?

I think the issue comes down to motivation and rewards. When individuals have no one to answer to but themselves, they tend to let their own sense of right and wrong motivate them. To them, it is "wrong" to be less than courteous to another unless they have caused that behavior through their own bad conduct. But when we answer to a firm, there is often no clear sense of what is right and wrong in regards to customer service. We know that our employer expects certain things in certain areas. We know when we are expected at work, and what is expected in regards to honesty. But we often don't know what is expected in regards to customers. We are looking for the firm to tell us what is right and wrong, and that information is often not provided.

I have looked at a large number of firms that are good and not so good at customer service. The interesting thing is that the good ones tend to spell out for customers what is expected. Not just in something vague like a mission statement, but day to day. They hold up good behavior. They correct bad behavior, and they make sure that, in the process, they produce a culture of customer service.

What about your firm? Do you have a good sense of what is right and wrong in regards to the customer, or are you using you own internal metric as a substitute for lack of direction?

1 comment:

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