Why "Customer Service" is a Joke

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Most companies assume they're giving customers what they want. Usually, they're kidding themselves. When Bain & Company recently surveyed 362 firms, they found that 80% believe they deliver a "superior experience" to customers. But when they asked the firms' customers, they found that only 8% are really delivering.

Talk about delusion. Why this huge discrepancy?

The folks at Bain found two reasons for the gap:

"The first is a basic paradox: Most growth initiatives damage the most important source of sustainable, profitable growth-a loyal customer franchise. To increase revenue and profits, businesses do things like raising transaction fees that end up alienating their core customers. Efforts to pursue new customers compound the problem, distracting management from serving the core.

"The second is that good relationships are hard to build. It's extremely difficult to understand what people really want, keep your promises and maintain a dialogue to ensure you meet customers' changing needs. Even initiatives to "better understand" customers can backfire, drowning firms in a sea of data."

I'll give you the third reason: management confuses actions and activity with outcomes. Just because you have a customer feedback program in place, doesn't mean it's effective. The appearance of virtue is not virtue.

More from the report: "Even initiatives to “better understand” customers typically backfire. A company can get so engrossed in collecting and sifting through data on patterns of use, retention, purchases and other transactions that buyers become numbers rather than people, segments rather than individuals. Companies become deaf to the real voices of real customers." [emphasis added]

Download the report here.

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This page contains a single entry by Christian Sarkar published on November 7, 2005 9:43 AM.

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