Customer Service Misnomer
“Raving Fans” is a book by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles that covers the concept of customer service or the lack there of in the business world today. Service to customers is, arguably, the top priority of any organization regardless of profit interest. However, customer service is also the area that organizations fail to meet customer expectation time and time again. What makes this failure by most organization puzzling is that it’s the area they believe is their strong competency while customer opinion suggests otherwise. What is true is customer service is a key competitive advantage and key differentiator for organizations if they would just focus on it.
Blanchard and Bowles in their Book, “Raving Fan” talk about this failure and provide a creative approach to changing the way organization think about and apply customer service. According to Blanchard and Bowles, most people say the customer service they receive from most organizations is satisfactory. That means organizations meet expectations, but not exceed it. It also means organizations must just meet expectations for customers to stay with a product or service. Because effort, time and energy are required to make a change, most customers are less likely to change the product or service they use if organizations don’t fail to be satisfactory.
The Real World Consequences of Poor Customer Service
We see examples every day of the downside of not meeting customer service expectations. Just ask the US auto industry of the 1970s and 1980s. When the automakers in the US focused more on the bottom line and less on quality and customer service, customers moved to Asian and European autos. It’s only been the last ten or so years that US auto makers have stabilized their market share losses from their short-sighted approach to customer service. Know what your customer wants, match what they want to what you think they want, fill the gaps with what they need, and exceeding that final level by 1%. This strategy provides an organization the strength in customer service to call it a true competitive advantage. Just ask Chick-fil-a.