Five Wishes For Customer Service In 2010

As I mentioned in my previous post, customer service deserves a lot more attention. Well, Customer Service Week also deserves more than one post. So here are a five items on my wish list for customer service operations in 2010:

  • Forget about average handle times. If you want shorter calls, disconnect your phones. But if a customer calls you, focus more on making them happy then on getting them off the line.
  • Learn from every interaction. Customer service interactions are full of insights about problems and unmet customer needs; stop squandering those extremely valuable insights. 
  • Recover quickly and be proactive. A quick solution to a problem generates goodwill, while a drawn-out solution loses customers. Address customer issues immediately and look for ways to eliminate problems before the customer even contacts you — this includes enabling customers to help each other.
  • Make customer service a product attribute. Don’t view customer service as an afterthought, think of it as a key component of your offering; so design it like you design other product attributes.
  • Engage reps in customer experience transformation. One of my 6 laws of customer experience is that unengaged employees don’t create engaged customers. So make your customer service organization a great place to work, which will cut down on turnover and get reps more involved in customer experience transformation efforts.

The bottom line: Turn customer service into a strategic weapon

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

13 thoughts on “Five Wishes For Customer Service In 2010”

  1. Bravo on your five points for Customer Service 2010. This past week I had tweeted the following on Twitter and I now add it to your wonderful list: “I envision the day when Customer Service is part of the heartbeat of all companies & held in that esteem.”

    Let’s make that in 2010 and remember: “Metrics don’t create great service. They measure great service they you first create. ~Kate Nasser”

  2. Just been recommended your blog and based on what I see I will be coming back for more. I particularly like wish number 5, this is a passion and belief you and I share. I will put a link to this on my blog and hopefully we can begin to reinforce some good thinking.

    Thanks Bruce

    Doug

  3. Bruce, I love number three and four from your list. For number three, recover quickly and be proactive, while firms honorably strive to be perfect, I don’t think consumers expect them to be. What they do expect is that we will make it right and do it quickly as you say. In fact, I believe that recovery opportunities are a key place to differentiate your brand’s service AND give customers a good, positive story to tell…. maybe an even better one than if everything went as planned.

  4. For number four, Make Service a Product Attribute – I agree, but think that at the end of the day SERVICE and the EXPERIENCE of using and owning the product ARE the brand and the key attribute!

  5. Hi everyone: Thanks for all of the great feedback. And I must say that snoopdougydoug has the best name I’ve seen on my blog. It’s given me the urge to become “snoopbrucybruce.”

  6. snopbethybeth loves the fact that Madrid, Spain needs your expert help. But back to more local matters, Starbucks appears to have failed with it’s instant coffee Via Ready Brew. Don’t they know that once customers enter the hallowed halls of Starbucks, they are prepared to drop whatever it costs to get the full Starbucks experience. AND speaking of that, why do they stop asking your name to put on coffee cups? That was their best feature…gotta get on them Brucie.
    Travel safe!!

  7. Hi all, I just can’t keep away. Wanted to highlight a great customer service activity going on here in England. A little something called the Wow awards. It’s powerful stuff. I encourage you to take a look and if you have the time, check out the 2 minute vid on their homepage. I have no formal connection with these guys, just sharing a good customer service idea.

    http://www.thewowawards.com/

    Best wishes from the English branch of the snoop family.

Leave a Reply