While I’m preparing myself mentally to attend our company’s training session on customer service excellence, I started to ask myself if good service is really valued by the consumer. When you think about it, it feels like it’s one of the thing where the person says one thing and does another. I mean, if customer service is so great, why are large retail chains dominate the market? You don’t see Wal-Mart bragging about how great their customer service is, yet, they consistently grow and acquire market share at the expense of small shops where the service is personalized. Don’t get me wrong, I like good customer service just as anyone else but when I shop for something, customer service is rarely a differentiator. As a consumer, the best customer service I’m hoping for is the one that will never happen because I won’t have any trouble with what I purchased. This also raise the question on where the company should invest funds, on quality assurance or in customer support?
Take grocery stores, what would you consider outstanding customer service there? When you look at them, they pretty much all do the same thing. They let you pick items from their shelves and then you get to meet the cashier who would rather get shot than ask you if you have any items under your basket. The big differentiator in service in the grocery store is whether you pack or not your own stuff or whether the cans are well aligned on the shelves… Woopedidoo! The price to pay for this service? Approximately between 15-30%. That’s a lot of money! If you want to give me great service there, how about you have someone tag along with me while I do my grocery to recommend stuff I could buy (while telling me how awesome I look today, of course lol)?
I guess my point is I don’t know many people who will filter out vendors based on the quality of their service right off the bat. At the end of the day, it’s all about the benjamins, let’s just stop pretending otherwise! 😉 I challenge you to convince me that you’re willing to pay a premium solely for better customer service and not for the quality of the product or service acquired.
There’s more to say about this topic, I guess I’ll keep some for another post…