In an ocean of poor service – stand out as an island

With all of the advances in the use of AI and the increase in ways to contact companies, such as via direct messaging, Facebook, X, Chatbots etc. we should be living in a golden age of brilliant customer service and record levels of consumer satisfaction – so what has gone wrong?

Companies exist to make money, a simple fact, but it seems that, instead of improving and giving better quality and adding profitability, the new mantra is ‘race to the bottom’. Major international companies are not immune to this desperate rush to be the cheapest XYZ in the segment. But how to achieve this goal?

Perhaps look at manufacturing processes, or maybe reducing component costs and I am sure that both of these areas are being ruthlessly targeted, but the area that seems to be a new ‘seam’ to mine is customer service personnel. You will have seen the “we use AI to improve our chat…” statements or the “24/7 support available”. Both of these carefully worded, PR outputs, hide the fact that there are significant reductions in other forms of ‘manned’ support and a less than gentle push towards the chatbot or email options. Anything, in fact, except speaking to someone.

It is into this increasing gap of personnel costs instead of quality-based service, that the small business owner can become an island of calm to customers in the ocean of poor service. How?

1. Have a phone number that is actually answered. Some companies still have a telephone service, although a few actually now charge for this when it used to be free, but even these are under-manned and the time to answer is so long that most people run out of patience and leave the queue long before being answered.

2. If you have an email for support, make sure that it is actually monitored and a ‘proper’ answer sent. Far too often, all you receive for your effort is an automated response stream for example ‘Thank you for contacting us, we will endeavour to answer your enquiry in [add number of days]‘

3. Actually have staff that you can train to truly support your customers. If you look at the total lifetime customer value rather than single order value or ‘churns’, then the up sell opportunities can more than offset these costs.

It is a sad truth that we have been sleepwalking into this lowering of customer service partly because, in some cases, the number of potential suppliers is very small, such as mobile phones, or that a market segment as a whole, has lowered our expectations.

By exploiting the weakness in customer service of larger companies, you can differentiate yourself and grow into a market segment by the simple action of not running straight to chatbots or meaningless email responses. This, in the end, will pay dividends as you can be that company known for really good quality products, quality service and great support – and did you notice what is missing in that sentence? – price, you have removed the need to dive to the bottom of the market.

Creatively Yours…

Creatively Yours Ltd helps businesses like yours succeed online through website design, website development, and our Helponomics system that offers support and training as you need it and highlights areas that could increase your sales.

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