Ginaherald's Blog

June 11, 2010

Are we sacrificing service in the name of efficiency?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ginaherald @ 2:28 am

Earlier this week I was chatting with a gal who told me that she lost her job in customer service/sales support after 28 years.  She told me that the job had been transferred to a call center in another state; a growing trend in a lot of industries these days. 

In my mind those in sales support and customer service (a job I did a time or 2 in my past) are more than just nameless, faceless reps answering phones – or at least they used to be.  In my previous roles in support/customer service I not only took sales/service calls, I got to know our customers, built a rapport/relationship and enhanced the brand of the company by adding value to the customer experience.  I don’t know about you but I appreciate the opportunity to chat with someone I know when I call a company.  Of course I realize that some companies, by the sheer number of customers they serve, cannot possibly operate in such a way, however I wonder if some smaller companies are sacrificing real service (which to me is relational) in the name of efficiency. 

I know we need to be as efficient as possible with the resources that we have and that our goal in business is to make a profit (hopefully while providing exceptional service to our clients).  I also know that my belief is that customer service is a function of marketing and not a cost center.  Look at companies like Zappos.com who have made service the cornerstone of their business.  Do they sell more? Hence creating more revenue?  I would say undoubtedly yes.  What about Amazon with all that free shipping? Think they sell more?  That’s a great service is it not? 

Maybe six-sigma didn’t necessarily get efficiency right when it comes to service? To me it’s all about relationships. People do business with people they know, like and trust.  And when I call a company for service, I want to talk to a person who appears warm and genuine and not someone who just seems to want to resolve my issue (if they are empowered to do so) and move on.  Know what I mean?  Had that experience?  Tell me about it……………

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