Calling all you customer service trainers?

by Viv on March 11, 2009

It’s funny how trends at the macroeconomic level sometimes fail to translate into microeconomic reality. Bearing in mind there’s a recession happening, you’d expect that companies would in general be far keener for business and therefore customer service would improve. Reflecting on the past couple of months I have had a substandard customer experience from several companies (if you don’t like being named and shamed look away now Audi, BT, Fox & Sons, Lloyds TSB and Sky). So what’s actually going on?

Have these companies have established that I’m just the kind of customer who’s not going to be profitable for them? Seems unlikely that there’s that degree of thought going on as several have failed to even get the basics right e.g. returning phone calls.

Are staff far too busy playing politics and cosying up to their bosses in order to keep their jobs? Seems unlikely as in the medium term- losing customers is going to guarantee deeper cuts and more redundancies.

Do I have an unrealistically high expectation of customer service because I’ve worked in organisations that deliver excellent customer service as a norm? Possibly.

However, I suspect that it’s that during the boom years, many companies have not had to work that hard in order to keep their customers. As money gets tighter, the Buffet metaphor of seeing who’s wearing swimming costumes when the tide goes out applies. There are probably several companies that have failed to implement a customer service culture as they wanted to keep a lid on costs.

At a time of training budgets being cut further, good customer service seems like a way for companies to differentiate and therefore grab a larger slice of a shrinking pie. Will L&D managers and customer service trainers make the business case well enough to change things for the better?

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