Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Difference Maker No Matter What

Guy Kawasaki as his bio says, " a managing director of Garage Technology Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm and a columnist for Previously, he was an Apple Fellow at Apple Computer, Inc. where he was one of the individuals responsible for the success of the Macintosh computer." He also has a very, at least to me, interesting blog where he writes about a lot of subjects, but a good deal about customer service.

One of the most recent pieces was called The Art of Customer Service. Guy has a list of 10 points any one of which could be posted in most companies and if followed would stand them in very good stead indeed. I thought it so powerful that I have made a copy to share with our team at our next staff meeting.

It may be an over-reaction on my part, and I know that it goes without saying that if your product or service is not competitive in the marketplace, outstanding customer service is irrelevant, but I truly do believe that all else being relatively equal, customer service is the largest difference you can make.

We live in an age where there is so much emphasis on automation, robotics, scanning, chips embedded in our pets (and our kids?) that it often seems like companies are doing all they can to separate themselves from the customer with an electronic wall. And don't get me wrong, I am all for technology as an enabler, but not as a substitute for customer care, both internally and externally.

Said differently, if you buy the argument that there isn't a heck of a lot of difference in most products or services which are priced roughly the same, then the one thing that can really separate one from the other is how they deal with their customers.

All of us as consumers know all too well what it feels like when customer service is poor. It makes you more than angry, it makes you feel violated and taken advantage of by people who could care less once the check has cleared or card charge has gone through.

Over the years, I have had a lot of people ask me how it is that the vast majority of our members still come to us by referral. My answer has always been the same, I think it's because we have always tried to make sure that we understand the difference between a member and a customer.


Margo Graziano said...

Great post! The RIGHT People are every companies most crucial asset.

Margo Graziano said...

Great post! The RIGHT People doing the job RIGHT are every companies most crucial asset.