2011: The Year of Improved Customer Service?

January 2, 2011

It may be that the economy is, in fact, reviving, but we definitely are not “there yet.”

My prediction for the coming year—maybe longer—is this: In those industries experiencing intense price competition, the big winners will be those companies that figure out how to provide excellent customer service while remaining cost competitive.

Consumers have had it. They are frustrated by having to take their time to make ten phone calls to solve one simple problem or by spending time looking for an item in a crowded store only to find a clerk (finally!) who either can’t find the product or is unable to answer questions about it.

Many financial experts in the corporate suite subscribe to the axiom that improved customer service adds cost and, therefore, hurts the bottom line. Although there are situations in which that axiom holds true, operational experts know that the opposite is often the case, that companies that think through their processes and procedures–how they provide their products and services to customers—can develop ways to deliver superior service at the same or even at a lower cost thereby improving margins and retaining customers who would otherwise be lost.