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For the Best Customer Service, Focus on the Customer

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For the Best Customer Service, Focus on the Customer

November 24, 2015

  By Steve Anderson, Contributing Writer

It may sound like a blinding flash of the obvious, but to offer customers the best in customer service—according to a blog from TeamSupport—the place to start considering changes is right at the customer level. Start by forgetting the old adage about the customer always being right, and instead focus on the new idea that a business' job is to make a customer's life easier.

With that in mind, TeamSupport offered a story that illustrated the new customer-focused customer service. A recent laptop purchase wasn't going quite according to Hoyle, and so the purchaser turned to an online chat source. Good move, right? Evidence of that omnichannel experience that's been so sought after so long? This story didn't turn out so well, with the online chat representing the first three of four attempts to contact the company. The online chat function featured six different dropdown menus, and none of which made it exactly clear just what those chat menus did. When the wrong option was selected—and given the number of options this wasn't hard to do—the chat rep couldn't actually transfer the other chatter to the correct chat line. Eventually the customer gave up on chat and tried the phone line instead, and after a series of transfers, finally ended up at the right department.

How could this experience be improved? Start by focusing on the customer perspective rather than the company's org chart; the customer doesn't know what extension to dial or who handles certain issues. The customer has a problem to fix. So organize customer service into key things that the customer may experience; a department for products, for billing, and so on. Make sure it's easy to switch among departments in case mistakes are made. This is a minor annoyance for the customer, but with the right tools, it can be an annoyance quickly forgotten in the face of a solved problem.

Customers need to be the focus of a customer service operation; it's right there in the name. The point of customer service is to contribute to a good overall customer experience, and that can't be if the company providing the experience isn't paying careful attention to the customer. It's a bit counter-intuitive for companies, granted; setting up operations to focus not on a company's current organization and departments can be difficult. Those who do reorganize things to focus on the customer are likely to be rewarded in the end with return business and happy customers who talk up a product or service among friends.

Putting the customer back in customer service and in customer experience pays dividends in the long run. Making a customer's life easier improves the chances that customer will come back, and as such, makes changing the company to better serve the customer—the definition of customer service—a top priority for the astute.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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