Haris Ahmed Chicago Consultant Asks: How is Your Customer Service?
Haris Ahmed of Chicago-based Pragmatium Consulting, Inc. may be an organizational change expert and a business consultant, but he is also a customer, just like everyone else. He is very familiar of the effects of poor customer service on the overall reputation of a company. One of the things he notices about the customer service of different companies, especially companies that have been around more than a decade, is that they still seem to be stuck in the past. How so? Because their only means of communication with their consumers (apart from actual person-to-person conversations) is the telephone! Haris Ahmed expounds on this further below:
One of the things that frustrates me about companies that I’ve been patronizing for years is that they’re stuck in the past, which isn’t good for business. I’m particularly frustrated when I need to ask something about a product I just bought or I need help troubleshooting a new car accessory, for instance, and I can’t get hold of their customer service! Why? Because I can only reach them through the phone! In this day and age, where everything is on the internet and every other person we meet on the street is on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat (or all of them!), why limit your communication lines to the telephone?
Live chat, emails, mobile apps that allow customers to send feedback or complaints at any given time, and even SMS are all there to help you provide better customer service to your consumers and clients. Why not use them?
This is one example of a business not embracing change—technological disruptions, in this case, and as a result, they are slowly but steadily losing their momentum, which could eventually cause them to lag so far behind to the point of obscurity.
I have always told my clients that their personnel is their greatest asset and biggest liability, and this is reflected by their customer service. Remember that customer experience is a key selling point for encouraging repeat business. If you make your customers feel important and that you value their patronage, you will most likely see them again. You also become their top-of-mind choice should the need for anything related to your business comes up; and they wouldn’t think twice about recommending you to friends and family because they know that apart from quality products, you also provide exceptional customer service. This is a great combination for customer retention!
Companies these days are well aware that consumers have become more demanding, and they have become very vocal too about their experiences with a certain company. For this reason, they adapted the disruptive technology that online communications brought forth on the business landscape. Online communications have already been around for more than a decade, which is why it’s a puzzle to me why some companies still rely on the age-old practice of phone calls for customer service. Don’t get me wrong, phone calls (when I do get through) are still my preferred means of talking to a customer representative, but getting through becomes an ordeal after a few tries.
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