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CUSTOMER SERVICE: Have Businesses FORGOTTEN How To Do It RIGHT?

Is service getting worse or is it that I’m simply getting older? I keep buying “super service” packages from various providers, only to get less and less service – more complexity – more telephone and/or computer clutter – more telephone referrals to someone else – etc.

For example, a couple of my TVs suddenly wouldn’t receive cable channels. Nothing had changed at my end. I use these TVs every day – one all day – another all night. I mailed them a $250 check which they, reportedly, had not received – but assured me my service had not been suspended. Anyway, it’s a longer story – but all I wanted was a service guy, whom I thought I had paid for, to come out and solve my problems. They assured me that my “super service” contract wouldn’t apply until I went through an online interrogation, which I reluctantly agreed to do. Their conclusion: I needed a service guy. Really?! Time expended almost an hour. Isn’t this crazy?

Audible is another good example, today. Every time I buy an Audible book, I spend twenty minutes trying to get it. They send so many instructions you need a lawyer to tell you what to do. All I want to do is order a book – an audiobook – not read pages of quasi-instructions. Frankly, Audible are the ones who need instructions — or perhaps a good book on marketing and/or customer service. Hey! I want to buy a book. They sell books – audiobooks. I entered the name and author – and then the clutter begins.

I could go on but you get my point. And I’m sure you experience the same things. It seems every business has transferred customer service responsibility to digital control – to some kind of audio interrogation robot or computer interrogation system.

As one who ran four different companies during my forty-year business career – I cannot understand what these companies are doing – what they are thinking about? I can only conclude their senior management doesn’t know anything about customer service, sales, marketing, technology, etc.

I always insisted my colleagues answer the phone by the third ring and deal with the customer inquiry, i.e., don’t pass it on to someone else. Get the facts and stay on the line until the problem is solved. The time to do real selling is when the customer calls – when he needs help – when he need a quotation. It was part of my QEF philosophy: to succeed in business make it Quick, Easy and Fun for customers to deal with us. And always use the KISS principle: Keep It Short and Simple.

Well, enough of my palaver, or perhaps I should say, frustration. From my perspective, it seems companies simply do not know how to succeed by meeting the Needs, Wants and Expectations of Customers. Companies spend millions of dollars advertising only to fail when the customer calls and gets a trainee.

Feel free to pass this on to business leaders that you know and/or encounter. No charge!

Image: Shutterstock: ID: 608399960

Share if you agree businesses need to reacquaint themselves with ideas of customer service.

William Pauwels

About the author, William Pauwels: William A. Pauwels, Sr. was born in Jackson Michigan to a Belgian, immigrant, entrepreneurial family. Bill is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and served in executive and/or leadership positions at Thomson Industries, Inc., Dow Corning, Loctite and Sherwin-Williams. He is currently CIO of Pauwels Private Investment Practice. He's been commenting on matters political/economic/philosophical since 1980. View all articles by William Pauwels

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