Sunday, August 16, 2009

Do You Care ?

Customer service is variously defined as “an organization's ability to supply their customers' wants and needs” and “the ability of an organization to constantly and consistently exceed the customer's expectations.” Companies dedicate entire divisions to 'customer care'. Most major players in the service industry impart special training to their staff to ensure best possible service to existing customers and prospective clients.

Why is it then that when it comes to interacting with clients, most of these 'customer care' executives fail miserably ? Take, for instance, the case of the representative from a well-known telecommunications major in the city who keeps pestering you day in and out extolling the benefits of upgrading one's internet facilities. After days of listening, you finally decide it would be easier for all concerned to subscribe to the facility and inform the chap of this. He gives you his confident assurance that everything will be in place the very next day.
With that he does the vanishing act, literally!! You wait in vain, but no one appears at your doorstep with the promised equipment. The person who at one time seemed eager to hear from you no longer answers nor returns calls! When you look for a 'customer care' number on the last received bill, there is no such number listed though it does state that one must contact 'customer care' for any queries and complaints. All this from a private sector organization which has a turnover of crores of rupees. And here, we complain about the inefficiency and impoliteness of bureaucrats. At least they never promise you the stars and the moon !

Where big names seem to be falling behind in providing quality service to customers, there are some resourceful entrepreneurs who know that the key to success is a satisfied client. A furniture maker who keeps his word and makes the delivery on the eve of Diwali, despite a shortage of staff during the holiday season, is definitely on the right track. So is the proprietor of the interiors shop, who is briskly efficient and prompt.

These two, who don't have a 'customer service' division, demonstrate 'service orientation' whereas those who claim to provide the best in 'customer care' fall way short of expectations. Perhaps it's time, the big fish came down a notch and took some valuable lessons from the small fry.

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