What happened to customer service?
Is it so difficult for people today to pretend they have even the slightest level of competence? I am not talking long-term capability; just enough so they can do what they say.
It is a rhetorical question, so I realize there is no answer. But it is one I find myself asking more and more these days, and it seems I ask it of so many institutions: banks (and credit unions), home improvement stores and large online retailers that share the name of that rainforest in South America.
Let’s not even begin a discussion over hospitals. They top the list of incompetent organizations, which might be funny if their incompetence did not have such life-and-death implications.
I am talking more about the day-to-day experiences we encounter as we go about our routine. It just seems like everywhere we go, we are expecting poor customer service.
Just once I would like to walk into my neighborhood hardware store and have the associate be honest and tell me he or she has no idea how to answer my question. That surely beats their usual approach of making up some answer that sounds as if it might be legitimate.
I mention this because I think it is related to marketing and public relations in particular.
So many companies today think they can market themselves out of bad customer experiences. They cannot, and they should not mistakenly believe they can.
The problem is this requires a long-term view and a commitment to make real change. There are often no easy fixes for the institutional problems that manifest themselves as lousy customer service.
Lip service is not a solution. Neither is delivering goods and service that are only marginally better than your competitors; one day they will wake up, and you’ll be in their rear-view mirror.
Perhaps start the process with transparency. You do not need to make as many excuses when you always tell the truth.