Cone of Silence.
After sales service is stupid. Customers don’t want after sales service because if you are in the after sales service line it means there is some problem. In France the after sales service is a choice of pushing endless buttons on your phone at the demand of some computerized woman until you can speak to a real person who may or may not be situated in the country and who may or may not give you some real response to your problem or if you have a bought a product you find a little desk at the end of a dank alley somewhere in the store with a person ready to push a button which brings down the cone of silence if the conversation becomes too heated.
These companies probably congratulate themselves on the fact they are providing any after sales service at all and giving the boffin who managed to cut the cost down to the bone by hiring people in Marocco to do the phones for a third of the wages they would have had to shell out in France. This experience is going to dictate the image left in my head of your company. If you are under performing and/or cheap this is of course stupid.
Any money invested in making a proactive strategy of customer service is not wasted. Cutting into this strategy for the sake of rounding out the figures and increasing margins are the first steps to the death of your company. Sound severe? You bet it’s severe. And so are the customers who have the choice to give you money or not.
Bill Price from Driva Solutions who has just written this book cooks the problem down to seven tangible steps which can help companies fix service problems, cut costs, and improve customer relations all at the same time:
1. Eliminate dumb or avoidable contacts to free up capacity and slash costs.
2. Build self-service that works to free up even more capacity and cut costs even more.
3. Find ways to be proactive rather than reactive because it is often cheaper than waiting.
4. Engage the real “owners” of customer problems to work with the customer service team to fix the problems
5. Make it really easy to contact your business.
6. Use the contacts you get to listen closely to the customer, and act upon WOCAS (What Our Customers Are Saying)
7. Fix reporting metrics, processes, and the staffing side to deliver great experiences for customer contacts.
read full interview with Guy Kawasaki here
We are in an experience-based age. We want to know how things make us feel because it will determine our choices as customers in the future. If you are still worrying about how to produce your stuff more cheaply and how to hide from any customer problems through a smoke screen of badly paid and grumpy after sales service people whose task is to deflect and hide at all costs the chances are you won’t have to worry for too much longer.