Friday, March 13, 2009

Too much customer service?

I came across this article at MSNBC, which asks the question "Can there be a thing such as too much customer service?". Some of the responses, which were collected from Twitter, included:

Katie_Traut: Yes, I think so. Take Martin+Osa. I love their clothes, but dread going in b/c the salespeople all harass you and stalk you.

apfriedman: yeah ... my dealership insists on calling my cell & sending an email survey every time I get my oil changed.

What do you think? Can there be a point when there is too much customer service?

3 comments:

buckwheat said...

Absolutely. In my work with Chief Customer Officers across 20+ industries around the world, it is becoming clear that customers are beginning to experience "satisfaction fatigue" from everyone trying to "exceed expectations." They don't want to fill out one more survey, answer one more phone call about their experience, or deal with one more pushy salesperson trying to "serve you to death."

Not every customer enjoys the same level of service. My research has shown that a large group of customers would prefer to be able to make their purchase without having to interact with anyone (ala online self-service), and others want to be wined, dined, and coddled in their shopping/purchase experience.

As well, providing the same level of service to all customers, particularly in the B2B environment is extremely wasteful. Customers that don't want extreme customer service are unfairly punished because they are forced to pay extra for unused service. Customers that do value extreme customer service and are willing to pay for it end up getting a huge bargain because of the subsidy by the lower tier customers.

The bottom line is that your customer strategy needs to allow for tiered service levels so as to provide appropriate levels of service to different customer segments. I wrote about the notion of tiering customers on my blog at http://curtisbingham.com/?p=45 . This is the only way to maximize profits and loyalty at the same time.

Jennifer said...

Thanks for the in-depth insight, Buckwheat!

sheila b said...

As buckwheat suggests a tiered service level system may be one "behavior" you offer your customers.

Satisfaction fatigue...yes if satisfaction is a survey! Basic Customer service fatigue...never!

May I clarify, its not about us, its about the customer. We must start putting ourselves in the shoes of our customer or maybe reflecting how we feel when we are customers-How would you like to be treated? We too often think of our business needs and what we need (data) rather than what the customer needs and feels. May I suggest businesses start employing the basics; a smile, a hello, a thank you, a you're welcome, a have a great day, a how may I help you, hmm, let me see how I CAN help you, etc.

Chief Customer Officers must strive to create a personalized value added interaction between the customer and your employees. Its not as hard as you may think!

Hint, a survey is not customer service...How would you like to answer a survey of 2 or 3 questions from your supervisor everytime you finished a meeting?

Or would you have rather gotten a smile and comment, "Your suggestions in our meetings have been very valuable, thanks for your input! You've been very helpful" Thanks!