I make my living in customer service so this may seem like an odd topic.  Done well, delivering a quality experience to customers can be an engine for satisfaction, retention, and growth.  Done poorly, it can also cause organizational misalignment and excessive cost.

To figure out which kind of experience your company is delivering ask two questions:

  1. Externally, ask customers “if we stopped doing X, how would that impact your business?”
  2. Internally, ask yourself, “in this particular dimension of our service (X), how do we stack up against the competition?”

You may find that the service you offer and take such great pride from is not valued by your customers.  Or that what you think is important to customers is not required, but only ‘nice to have’.  (Hint: Customers don’t pay more for ‘nice to have’ items.)  Or you may find that the dimension in which you lag the competition is the one most valued by your customer.   (Hint: That’s a problem.)

Think about it.  Product marketing teams survey the market landscape to determine whether or not a product solves a need and how much customers will pay for it.  Customer service is (should be) no different.

The pivot point is that offering services which customers don’t value is expensive and pointless.  And if you persist in offering service that customers don’t value, they’ll seek alternatives and then your service will have ruined the business.

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