I am confident in my own convictions, I have been saying it for a long time. I know that I was not the first to say it, but here it is again: Your Customer Service, Support or ‘what ever you call it’ is about the most valuable asset you have as an organization. Start investing in it, keep the people happy and STOP measuring success based on the number of cases you close – PLEASE! Cross train your organization, hold weekly meetings between Marketing and Support and let them start sharing ideas. How many customer conversations does your marketing team have, per week, with customers? And Support? Just asking.
The Wall Street Journal, posted an interesting article on Monday. First, thanks to Arie Goldshlager for pointing out the article (An important aside, Arie finds some of the best articles out there, listen to him, he is a smart man!). The theme of the article is that you should pay attention to Customer Service, as it represents a growth engine for your company.
“Just over a quarter of the 1,405 companies surveyed by Accenture late last year said customer service would be the first area they’d increase funding for as the economy recovers. Some companies have begun that practice this year.”
Well, that sounds good, almost interesting, except for one point that I believe to be the case (sorry, no good statistics); An increase in funding compared to where we were the past few years, and cut backs due to the economic conditions is not that impressive, this might just bring levels back to where they were. What are the 75% of the other companies investing in, Marketing, Sales? I wish the Wall Street Journal would link to the survey they mention, as opposed to the stock ticker for Accenture.
I appreciate that the Journal highlighted this practice, do not get me wrong. Of course, being the person that I am, I want more! I strongly believe (can you tell!) that support organizations are under appreciated, and constantly measured by the wrong metrics. Do the metrics capture the essence of the following?
“Some executives also see a chance to woo frustrated customers from rivals through word of mouth and by creating pleasant experiences. In another Accenture survey of 5,000 consumers, 69% said they had switched at least one provider because of poor customer service in 2009. That’s two percentage points higher than in 2008 and 10 points higher than 2007.”
Customers appreciate great products, good value and positive customer service – put them all together and many refer to this as Customer Experience. The whole package, from first contact to the service call. What could your Marketing teams learn from customer support? Have you asked? I read a wide variety of blogs, books and articles. Sure, I miss some good stuff but every once in a while something makes me just feel good. Yesterday, a local friend (Rich Nadworny) forwarded an article, “Social Media Does not Exist” written by Adam Cohen, someone whom I also follow. Adam is actually a Social Media strategist and he wrote the following within the article:
“I’d like to see more companies treat social media as if it were an embedded part of building customer relationships, focusing on making the most of all relevant touchpoints they have with customers.”
So, this was my first comment in this entire post about Social anything (are you proud?). The reason I brought it up at all, is for two simple reasons. First, Adam is on the marketing side, and he gets it. Two, Social is here, not just in technology, but in attitude and approach. Within the WSJ article, the comment was made that agents now begin a call by saying ‘How is your day going?’, not just ‘How can I help you’ – The agents are also instructed to not simply rush off the call.
What do you think, did I miss the point, or miss something crucial here?