I’ve recently been working through the interview process for a customer service position with a company that I greatly respect. One of the cool benefits of going through the process is the questions I get asked during an interview and how my mind works over those questions during the next couple of weeks.
I work in the “customer service” business every day. Working IT in a higher education setting puts me in contact with staff, faculty, students, parents, and visitors from all different walks of life. While I don’t ascribe to the saying “the customer is always right”, one thing that I have learned is that service counts.
It counts a lot.
The big takeaway for me was that excellent products can bring a person in and can even get them to buy something. Products can always be shiny enough, or “new” enough, or “fast” enough to get a person to purchase them. You can always market your way into purchases.
Loyalty, true customer loyalty and satisfaction, only happens with excellent service. Don’t underestimate what excellent, timely, and available customer service can do for your bottom line. Customers who feel like they are being taken care of are going to speak more highly of your product and your company than they would have if they don’t get that service … obviously, right?
This all seems elementary on the base level, but how many companies have outsourced or claimed to “help their bottom line” by gutting their service department? What a terrible fate for the company because that will rot the company from the inside, not just from the outside. Not taking service seriously means not taking the company as a whole seriously because you are saying that it is the sale that matters only, not the experience that someone has with whatever you are selling.
Just think about that? How terrible.
This goes to even how easy it is to GET service. Don’t bury service and support on the bottom of your pages, requiring people to set up another account just to talk with you. The Apple Stores are important for Apple not just because they sell a lot of stuff there, but because it is a place for people to gather and get their questions answered. That builds relationships and loyalty that Microsoft and Samsung are trying to replicate by having their own stores instead of relying on the Verizons, Best Buys, and independent PC resellers of the world.
Customer service is vitally important to the health of a company. That is one place where investment is necessary and will pay off in the long run.