This is sad, it really is. As one who has dedicated his professional life to providing, teaching, and coaching customer service excellence, I was frustrated, but not surprised, to read that Customer Service is not getting any better. It seems to be getting worse. And most customers don't even hope for good service any more.
Forrester Research recently released a report based on a survey of more than 4,200 consumers in 10 different industries, such as apparel, banking, hotel, insurance, credit
card, wireless phone plan, Internet service, and computers. The crux of this report is that customers have come to expect lousy service as par for the course. Here are some of the highlights (or shall I say lowlights?):
- Of the industries involved, only in the apparel industry did a majority (a slim majority – 54%) of customers actually expect to receive good service.
- Only 30% of customers in the health insurance and in the computer industries expected to have a quality experience.
- Only 23% of seniors expected good service in the computer and Internet areas.
This blows me away, because I know for a fact that it is not that difficult to create a positive customer experience. If you care about ANYONE in the world besides yourself, then you simply envision the customer as that person that you care about. And then you treat the customer the way you would treat him or her. Or at very least, provide that level of effort.
When I see that fewer than a third of customers in major areas of business actually have an expectation of being treated well, of getting what they want when they want it, and having any questions answered, I think, what sinister parallel universe have I happened onto?
It is 2010 – it is no longer open to debate as to whether it is worth the effort to provide good service. It is the thing that differentiates business. It is the thing that retains customers. In this day and age, in an economy that is still sluggish, one would think that making the effort to provide a meaningful customer experience would be a business imperative.
But apparently, one would be wrong.
Businesses! I know you can hear me! Make some damn effort! I don't care what industry you're in. I don't care how long you've been in business. Make some real effort to provide a quality service experience for every one of your customers and prospects, and your bottom line will skyrocket. I mean, what the hell else are you doing that's so important?
— Chuck Dennis