The high price of poor customer service in the new economic reality

For any business to survive in this time of economic turbulence, superior customer service is a business imperative. Those businesses that do not deliver a service experience that far exceeds customers’ expectations can expect to pay a high price that includes publicized customer dissatisfaction, negative facebook posts, customer defection, lost revenue and, in some cases, death.

One of the big culprits behind poor service delivery is that small, medium or large pool of employees, who may be resistant to delivering excellent customer service.

There are three key reasons for this resistance, as outlined by Ms. Dawn Richards, Principal Consultant of DRA Consulting; namely that ‘employees are unfamiliar with the expected service behaviours‘; ‘sometimes employees are afraid to adopt new behaviours out of fear of ridicule from their peers, as they are doing something new’; and ‘lack of confidence, training and skills‘. These all create a reservation that contribute towards making persons feel a little bit shy to adopt new behaviours’.

She further pointed out that there may be internal human resources issues that promote ‘various levels of employee discontent’ that suppress the release of ‘high energy behaviours that we associate with excellent customer service’.

Dawn Richards, CEO, DRA Consulting (3rd from right), with a few of DRA’s trained Customer Service Specialists

The question therefore arises for the business owner, ‘how do we overcome this resistance to service behaviour malaise? How can we ensure that our employees are always inclined to delight our customers and add value to the service experience?’ One useful and effective way is ‘to focus on creating a caring, respectful and courteous internal employee community’. There is also a need to ‘recognize each employee for his/her efforts’. And, of course, there are innumerable ways to achieve this high level of motivation within the workforce.

The natural question that arises next, is now; ‘what is the true cost of poor customer service delivery?‘ Ms. Richards, in an online session, shared that there are four types of costs; namely recoverable costs; irrecoverable costs; visible costs; and hidden costs. To counteract these, companies must have a methodology for quick service recovery so that the recoverable costs are just that – recoverable. Some of these are the cost of ‘not smiling, ignoring the customer‘.

Other resultant costs are ‘customer defection, which often comes after a slow burn by the customer’; ‘reputational collapse, (with your company) becoming the benchmark for poor service’; and ‘low employee morale’.

Highlighting why customer service is so critical, Dawn urged that ‘we need to ensure that we are not making our customers soft targets for our competitors’.

As organizations ponder these problematic questions, in steps DRA Consulting to provide mechanisms for ‘quantifying the cost of poor service delivery’. ‘We quantify the number of service failures daily, then apply a cost to those failures, so that organizations can put a dollar value to what those service failures and poor service delivery have actually cost for any given day’. This quantification of service failures helps organizations to take the actions that will plug poor service leaks and conserve valuable revenue.

DRA Consulting ‘is the organization that has begun to popularize customer service week in Trinidad and Tobago’. These tips formed part of the Free Online Series, hosted during Customer Service Week (October 2nd – 6th).

DRA Consulting can help with the upward climb to ‘making quality service delivery a way of life for organizations that wish to stand out from the competition’.

DRA Consulting’s primary business product is its signature Customer Care Transformation Model that enables client organizations to achieve a culture shift to a customer centric orientation and to become “cultures of service” that deliver world class customer care. DRA Consulting’s Customer Care Transformation Interventions deliver “Eager To Serve” employees, shifts in the language used by employees to address customers, quick responses to customer requests, enquiries and complaints and employees who are courteous, helpful and who believe that it is a privilege to serve.

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