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A strong and essential industry responds

Service shift

How do you like it when you're asked for your phone or account number during a service call by an automated phone system and then get asked to provide the same number again when you're finally connected to a real person? Makes you want to slam the phone down.


Do you find value in listening to advertising before getting connected to a series of menu options, before getting connected to a real person to help you, which is all you wanted in the first place?
To cap off the irony, the call may be recorded for 'quality-control' purposes or use in training! What quality? This level of customer service is standard in the utility industry, where the penalty for losing me as a customer is fairly low, and may in fact be a benefit.


At the other end of the customer-service spectrum is the distribution industry, and yet some manufacturers and distributors make customers jump through automated phone hoops to just talk to a live person, to get at the information or solution they called for in the first place.


As the article by Ross Elliott on page 6 argues, service expectations have shifted dramatically in recent years, but many distributors' service delivery models have not. The article suggests we need to find ways to fit our products and services a little closer to an individual customer's needs each time we interact with them. Have you met a voicemail package that does that?


If you have a gut feeling you may be frustrating customers in even a small area of contact, it may be worth the resources to fix it. Sometimes these small items stay hidden until a bigger issue brings all the pain factors out on the table. Then it can be too late to repair an important relationship.

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