Customer Service: A Scalable Way to Delight

by · April 5, 201212 comments

We spend money like drunken sailors on lead generation. Our businesses rely on new business. More is better, right? We love marketing ideas. We need more leads. We need to grow the business.

We don’t like customer service. Said differently, we do not like the cost associated with customer service. Heck, take that a bit further, how many of our operating budgets have a line item for customer service. In smaller businesses, they typically don’t.

As a business owners, we have this fantasy that we are doing everything right, so there isn’t a cost for customer service as long as we are all doing our jobs. Our staff will perform consistently and fairly and they will do everything right. Although I am exaggerating, how many of you really do set a side a budget for things that go wrong? How many business actually allow the front line to “fix the problem?” Sure, there are a few companies that have set aside front-line allowances, but most of us want to have input on just how the problem gets solved, all in an effort to reduce the cost of solving it.

Follow the Money, It Doesn’t lead to Customer Service

We spend way to much time talking about customer service and too little time solving the issue, for good. Think about that! Most problems that cross our desk get solved, meaning they stop reoccurring. Yet this pesky “Customer Service” hangs around like a bad cough, and just doesn’t go away. If we could just get everyone on the same page it wouldn’t occur. Really, that is a sorry thought. Things do go wrong, everyday.

Does Customer Service Scale

Even though I have thought about the topic for some time, even marveled at companies like Zappo’s who claim to have Customer Service at the center of their culture, it never occurred to me how they actually do that, until I recently heard the phrase “A Scalable Way to Delight” Seth Godin recently penned a thought provoking post titled “Speaking when they care (reorganizing the economics and attitude of customer service)”

“Advertisers struggle to be heard through the noise. Customer service reps, on the other hand, can whisper.

 A few organizations have figured out how to turn customer service into a marketing opportunity and thus a profit center. They figure if they’ve got your attention, if they’re talking to you at a moment when you care a great deal, they can turn that into an opportunity to delight. And being delighted is remarkable and worth talking about. That means that if your organization has a stall, deny and avoid policy when it comes to customer interaction, you will almost certainly be defeated if a competitor comes up with a scalable way to delight.”

Is Customer Service Your Priority? 

What is your story, have you solved the Customer Service Problem, or is it just another useless cliché on your brochures or posted in your lobby. That said, if you have made progress, real meaningful progress, what type of costs have you allocated to those line items? Is it even really feasible to solve the problem? Before the Customer Services reps fledge an attack, this is more than a little training, is it really part of your DNA?

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About Eric Brown

Eric Brown

Eric Brown's background is rooted in the rental and real estate industries. He founded metro Detroit’s Urbane Apartments in 2003, after serving as senior vice president for a major Midwest apartment developer. He established a proven track record of effectively repositioning existing rental properties in a way that added value for investors while enhancing the resident experience. He also established The Urbane Way, a social media marketing and PR laboratory, where innovative marketing ideas are tested.

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