Customer Services - An Art or The Science
Customer Services -I have been associated with this word/experience knowingly or unknowingly since I was a kid. In fact every single person on this earth does practice this one way or the other according to my definition of this word/experience. I have deliberately written the duo of word and experience for better understanding. For the last ten years I have been working in the Customer Services department in a cellular organization. All these years have brought in different experiences and ultimate exposures.
I asked this question to me many times that customer service is an art or it is the science. The answer is not an easy one. Customer Services is basically the common virtue of extending help when it is required or there is a need to do it. It is a way of life that most people live and interestingly they do not know that they are the living example of customer services one way or the other.
In our daily lives, we make decisions based on our experiences good or bad on both sides. I used to go to one particular store for grocery shopping. There was definitely a reason for going there and I found out that the person on the counter was very polite and decent. He will not necessarily indulge you in by making selling lectures and will assist you to the maximum in giving what you want. I had a good experience and I never went to another store again. The same applies to other walks of life; whether it is your barber, your mechanic, your electrician and the list goes on.
Today in the modern era, things have changed dramatically. The competition is very fierce and cut throat. There are products in the market that offer the same facilities however the service is the differentiating factor among all. Price was a big factor and still is... however due to the nature of the competition the margins are very low. According to the modern management principles, service has become the most focused upon aspect of any business in any environment. The term 'customer is the king' or 'customer pays our salaries' became the focal point of modern business strategies and very rightly so.
Customer Services was considered to be a thankless job and there were hardly any evaluation being carried out because it was taken as a routine to serve customers or to provide after sales service. With the passage of time, companies gathered that if a process cannot be evaluated then the performance cannot be measured also. For this to happen various techniques and tools were developed to quantify and measure the customer services representative's performance. The tools were mystery shopping, customer satisfaction surveys and customers feedback in general.
In the process, customer service representative were trained and groomed to communicate with the customers and their performance started getting evaluated. By doing so, the only aspect that suffered was the human touch and feelings. Many companies preferred interactive voice recording instead of a human being talked to.
The science took over the art.
As it is a universal phenomenon that every human being is different from the other so is the interaction with every new customer. You cannot define SOP for every customer however SOP is made on the basis of general feedback of the customers. I truly believe that customer service is an art and it should be measured with the help of science however companies has to maintain a thin line between the robots and the humans. Majority of the customers complain about the long waiting time on IVR and they prefer to walk in or talk to the customer service representative instead of going over the given customer services help lines.
Being a Customer services representative, I retained a lot of companies on the basis of good rapport, personalized services and excellent relationship management. Although they were having better offers however the one reason they stayed in was THE SERVICE.
To conclude the discussion, I would say that customer service is an art however the science should be there to evaluate and measure the processes.