The Resurrection or Annihilation of Better Service?

 In Customer Loyalty & Retention, Customer Service & Satisfaction, Customers, Leadership, Organizational Change, Rick Conlow

Customers demand better service; they have the power. Remember in the movie I, Robot, where the droids are activated as a group. Then they began to attack the human population? It is a frightening idea with a lot of action. You could think of customers beginning to behave like that.

Market changes are already overwhelming nearly all organizations faster than predicted by futurists. This is especially true in the move to digital commerce. We are already witnessing the thinning of the ranks in retail companies.  Those weak in customer service continue to bite the dust.

Customer service of the past was planned to be mostly personal attention. Today it’s vastly becoming digital. The internet and the younger generation has changed everything. The customer service that we know from the past is gone. Most companies are scrambling to find the ‘secret sauce’ to get a market edge. For example, nearly 9 of 10 millennials use search engines to find customer service answers. In addition, over half of them use social media to ask customer service questions. With technological improvements, the expectations for better service are higher.

Few Companies Walk the Talk about Better Service

The Resurrection or Annihilation of Better Service?Above all research says 73% of companies name ‘improving customer service’ as their top priority. More research shows that only two out of ten companies have a top notch customer service culture. An Accenture study shows poor customer service costs companies $1.6 trillion a year. That’s nearly six times more than a decade ago. Over 54% of customers stopped doing business with the company because of poor service. This is up 5% from a year ago.

The concept of resurrecting customer service is in vogue. But, it has not yet evolved into practice. One report showed that customer service is improving. Unfortunately, it included satisfied customers as part of their barometer for gain. This is folly. The Bain Company researched the fact that a ‘just satisfied’ customer is not a loyal business-building customer. Therefore, customer service is actually getting worse in most places.

A few years ago, my post The Death of Customer Service showed that companies invest in technology over people. Certainly, customer service has been highly dehumanized in many organizations. Some studies predict that 80% or more of customer interactions in the near future will be without human interaction. However, customer service feedback indicates that 83% of customers still prefer dealing with a person rather than digital options to take care of specific service needs. Consider, nearly 9 of 10 customers will pay more for better service.

What Do Customers Want?

The Resurrection or Annihilation of Better Service?Bottom line, a truly customer-driven company continually changes to get better. As a result, they gain greater profits and growth. ACSI research backs this up. For example, the following companies continually show they know what customers want: Wegmans, Amazon, Wistia, JetBlue, Publix, Disney, Ritz Carlson, USAA, Nordstrom, Trader Joes, Zappos and Apple.

For instance, here’s what research shows most customers want:

  • Convenience is key! Make it easy to reach products or services anytime and anywhere, no confusion.
  • Faster service, long waits are death.
  • Helpful self-service options. They don’t want to be stuck in endless automation.
  • Competent service personnel availability online or in person. Make it easy.
  • Positive and personalized engagement at each step of the service process online or in person. Incompetent people are unacceptable. Train and coach them!
  • Quality products along with helpful staff and quality guarantees without the fine print. Junk not allowed!
  • Competitive pricing, not necessarily the best price.
  • Don’t over promise and under deliver. Companies and service personnel must deliver, period.

A Revolution for Better Service

The Resurrection or Annihilation of Better Service?Design each step of a customer’s journey with the customer in mind. Above all, don’t do what is easy or convenient for the company. This is where many leaders fail. They don’t think like customers. Instead, they think like executives, accountants or IT personnel. To be a leader, include all departments not just operations, sales and service. Everyone is responsible.  Unfortunately, this takes revolutionary thinking. So, most companies fail here as well. The obvious objective is to serve the external customer extremely well, and do the same for those who are helping customers. This means employee engagement is essential. Unfortunately, this is another failure of most companies.

Most importantly, the balance between digital and human touch-points are crucial. Therefore, be technical but demonstrate empathy. The goal is to establish multiple channels for easy access. Provide people support readily as needed. In conclusion, this all takes teamwork, creativity and initiatives that are constant in focusing on creating value and customer loyalty.

The Customers 2020 report says the customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand identifiers. Therefore, those organizations that adapt will survive and thrive. Consumer discontent is a sleeping giant. It will take only so much, and today its wrath goes viral in minutes. As more companies begin to falter, a customer focus must be resurrected. Consequently, this requires investing heavily in a customer-centric vision, and an employee-focused culture. Without these two ingredients, companies are doomed to fail and face annihilation.

Check out These Resources

Firstly, do you want to motivate your team to improve the customer experience of your department or organization today? Download this complimentary eBook guide: How to Motivate-NO-Inspire Employees: 10 Keys to Employee Engagement.

Finally, do you want award winning customer service that dramatically and positively impacts your bottom-line? Contact us: or call-612-868-8521.


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