One final thought about the recent Dell customer service fiasco, below.
Recently I edited what I think will be an important business book. Written by Phil Verghis, a client and friend, the book teaches organizations how to provide top-notch service and support for their customers around the world. I think all of us — customers and companies alike — can agree that the overall level of customer service could use a lot of improvement!
Yes, the book is aimed mainly at large, global organizations, who face huge challenges trying to provide follow- the- sun customer support around the world, while making the customer’s experience pleasant and positive. But what huge enterprises have in common with us little guys is this: We both depend on clear, honest communications with our customers.
Whether you’re an Akamai, or a 50-seat software company, or a one-person graphic design house, you’ve got to focus on your customers. Listen to them. Talk to them. Which takes us back (once again) to the focus of this blog– how important good communications skills are. Both external (with the customer) and internal (with co-workers and departments heads).
As Phil writes, every company needs to focus on the customer. Service and support executives must be taught that they not only represent the company to the customer — they must champion the customer to the company. Business processes must be evaluated (and sometimes revised) to make sure they’re customer- centric. Top management should consider adding a Chief Customer Officer — a new C-level executive (CEO, CFO, CIO, etc.) whose job is to look at everything with the customer in mind.
(Grab your iPod and cue up What a Wonderful World it Would Be.)
Let’s hope every large organization (and most of the medium and small ones) reads The Ultimate Customer Support Executive: Unleash the Power of Your Customer and heeds its message. (Full disclosure: Although I edited the book, I have no financial stake in its sales.)
I understand Phil is now offering workshops, too, to help spread the word.
And who is Phil Verghis? Well, before launching his own consulting firm, Phil led Akamai’s vast and successful customer support organization at their headquarters in Cambridge MA. He is also the former chairperson of the Strategic Advisory Board of the Help Desk Institute (HDI), the largest membership support and service organization in the world. (And there’s much more. If I listed all his accomplishments in customer support and service, I’d be writing all day long.)
Frustrated consumers, what do you think? Are you happy with the level of customer service? Which companies deliver the best? The worst?
How would you improve customer service?