Thursday, December 28, 2006

It's not Just Customer Service

The old year is passing and with it one of the most maddening weeks of the year for most retail businesses regardless of the country. For B2B businesses it’s a week of slow downs, key people on vacation and year end quotas hanging in jeopardy. The auditors, business owners, and accountants are cranking it up trying to get a head start on closing out the month and year end books, and on top of that a barrage of bargain hunting customers are trying the patience of the most forgiving of customer reps and clerks.

To help in this maddening world of business it is still very important to focus on the customer. Why? First of all they do pay the bills. It is in the customer that we find the reason to keep the doors open and hope for our companies future. With this in mind the idea of customer service isn't enough. Being polite, smiling, gracious, courteous, helpful and a host of other adjectives aren’t going to bring the house down. Customer service is only a part of a larger picture as well as is marketing, and branding. They are all pieces of the "Customer Experience".

It is in the creating and maintaining of the customers experience, both direct and indirect, that will bring success to any business or company. Not in any given process, but in all aspects of any given business that create some defining impact on the customer. So, in the New Year to come, let’s move beyond the realm of customer service. Let us move into the creating and management of the customer experience. It is here that loyalty develops and the true return on any business or companies capital is made.

We are just a few days away from the reflecting on the past year performances, which should be reflected in our consideration of our coming New Years resolutions. Let’s resolve to remake the way we do business and deal with our customers. One that will define us and separate us from the pack. Let us look beyond the realm of customer service to truly serve our clients/customers and expand our horizons for the year to come.

As always we invite your comments.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

It's Happened

We have been inducted into the "Incredible Hall of Acclaim" . This is awarded to people who take writing about customer service seriously and contribute to the on going piles of information that every business owner and manager should read but seldom gets around to it.

We have been inducted along with the likes of Seth Goodin, one of the worlds great marketers. Thank you Maria Palma the founder of . "The Customers Always Right" blog and of the "Incredible Hall of Acclaim" award.

Of course we will wear this distinction with pride and honor.

We welcome your comments as always.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Carnival of Customer Service

In the area of customer srvice , true customer service, the path is filled with land mines and road blocks and of course the misleading phylosophies of customer srvice out there that come from many of the self proclaimed gurus of customer service and marketing. However, I have come to respect and share many different views with Glenn Ross over at His insights are solid and timely.

Glenn this week is hosting "The Carnival on Customer Service". Sharing many various points of value from his insight and those of others. Stop in, take a look, it's worth the effort. There is much to learn in the customer service arena and The Carnival is a good place to start.

As always you are invited to leave your comments

Thursday, December 07, 2006

What Do Customers Expect? - Customer Service

In the on going battle to bring business from the dark ages into the 21st century of customer centered services the defining of what a customer wants has come down to the tug of war between the conceptual idealization of the marketing departments and consultants and that of the customers themselves.

Even in the most forthright of customer service blogs and articles, customer service ideologist have been mislead by the marketing world into identifying marketing concepts as customer service ideologies and perspectives, even to the point of re-labeling traditional marketing jargon to quack like a duck, however underneath the quack there ain’t no waddle. Businesses need to be careful of being mislead in the application of policies that are selfserving and hollow pulling them away from the purpose of customer service and their customer's (market segment)expectations.

It is of the greatest importance that businesses understand the direct relationship between customer service and customer expectations in the terms of the customer not in the terms of the marketing traditionalist. Until businesses can do that and understand how to integrate this "customer perspective" into their marketing, branding, sales and policy development, they will never win the hearts of their potential customers and loyalty as elusive as it is will always be a fleeting fancy.

Soul proprieters and small enterprize companies need to pay even closser attention to how they center their over all planning strategies and growth focus.

We invite any and all comments.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Customer Expectations

There is much to be said about what your customer’s expectations are and what are the customer’s expectations as defined by a given business? Meikah at Customer Service, Global Watch has started to take a few swings at this. It’s worth the reading.

However, what she has signaled out is that the customer expectation from a business perspective is defined by good marketing. Is this wrong? Actually its ok as long as you are careful to meld what the customers really expect from a business or product with the business defined perceptions. In the list cited by Meikah the focus is on creating emotional triggers that move the customer to making a purchase.

This is good right? Yes and no, in most all cases. It appeals to the emotional instincts of the buyer but doesn't really address expectations and often, more than not, leaves the customer empty. Think about it, how many times have u gone into a store or restaurant and felt let down by the expected experience, or bought a product and were left holding less than what your expectations were. And this applies to B2B businesses and products or services as well.

Perhaps defining expectations should be done differently.

We invite your comments as always