Friday, February 06, 2009

Customer Service?

In customer service, there are two rules of thumb that are normally used.

1) The customer is always right
2) If the customer is wrong, read rule 1

Is this customer service or ego service? True, many corporations, especially corporations in India need to buckle up on their customer service. It is in the state it is now, only because they can get away with it. Areas where they cannot get away with it - either because of laws or intense competition, they have always evolved. In the western countries, customer service has evolved to the point where any product or service involved, people can get it done online or through the phone without even getting in touch with a service rep.

Anyway, back to my point. I think there needs to be a distinction between servicing quality and servicing the ego of the customer. No one needs to stoop down to satisfy a fussy customer. In terms of quality, the bar needs to go as high - and continuous improvement must be the norm. When innovation - both in terms of product and customer service - is in operation, there are no gates and barriers.

From the corporation perspective - realize you are in business because of the customer. Get down from your pedestal and realize that you need to go to any end to meet quality expectations.
From the customer perspective - realize you are buying a product or service from the corporation. Get down from your pedestal and realize that your expectation ends with "how" your "service" is being administered in terms of quality.

In the end, however, we are talking about two people from either entitiy. If a beautiful "relationship" emerges, none of what I said above will apply. But this relationship is possible only of the corporation truly cares for the customer and creates people rooted in that culture. If we are talking in terms of processes, drawing lines and nitpicking is inevitable I think. Edges are always sharp!

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