It seems that every time I talk to people about customer service, they think I’m talking about personal interaction.
As if personal interaction is THE only aspect of service that is important. This is the myopia of businesses today – they think that they are in the ‘service’ business if they can talk nice to people.
Sadly, they have it wrong.
As a small example, tonight I ordered dinner from Pizza Hut through their online service. Beyond the fact that it really is the only way to see prices, menus options and deals in real time, I like it because I don’t need to wait on the phone to be processed by yet another operator. They have set up a system that actually works for me – I am choosing to avoid any personal interaction.
Here is the service aspect of today’s story. Just a few minutes after I send in my order, I receive a phone call from the particular location. They tell me, and I quote, “You ordered 4 pieces of cheese garlic bread. I’m sorry but we only have 2 slices left.” I’m left with two reactions. Reaction A is to thank them for being completely on top of their order system and personally calling me to correct the issue. Most businesses conceive this to be customer service. Reaction B is to question how in the world on a Saturday night before the dinner rush (order was in well before 5 pm) that a location could be out of bread. BREAD.
And this is the short sightedness of people who spout ‘service’. It isn’t about the human contact here. It’s about the delivery.
As a customer, I expect a business to manage their inventory, operations and service delivery system in a way that maximizes the customer experiences. This means that when I’m looking for common inventory, you have it. Period. Happy counter people and snappy jingles can’t fix this. You failed on an operational level and, yes, this is customer service. Service is about solving customer problems and building relationships to maximize business outcomes.
Review your operations; if you have issues at any level, you have service issues.