Manage the Customer Service with a Human Touch!

By Monish Gakhar, IT Head, GEMS

All of us have so often heard of CRM and how this practice is a must have for our business. Organizations are busy gathering and analyzing all the customer data they can lay their hands on so they can sell more to customers, but in this race to manage customers through data, the human side of relationships often takes a back seat.

I believe if we manage the Customer Service with a human touch, the relationship will automatically be managed. Let me start with two real life examples on Customer Service Management.

The Helpdesk
It was more than 10 minutes now since I was on hold and the IVR kept repeating “your call is important to us, please hold on…..” and how all of their agents were busy attending other customers. I finally quit after a few minutes. How I wished that they would call me back, apologize for wasting my time for so long and would ask me how they could help me. But no one called back. I guessed they didn’t care. Their customer care department did not care as to which customer could not get through. Maybe that call was important for that customer, but if it was so important, the customer will call again. Why take the pain of calling back the customer.

Its been years now, I have called up many customer care numbers of many companies but none called back if I disconnected.

The Helpdesk is the first point of contact in case of a problem and that is where the “care” must start from if you really care for your customer. To be fair, yes, there are companies whose IVR says leave your contact no. and we will call you back.

The Eatery
There is this small eatery, a one room shop rented from the municipal department of the city. The food they cook is finger licking delicious. We park our car somewhere near the shop and walk to the counter to order the food. Would sometimes get it packed and would sometimes eat it sitting in our car as would many other customers. Their food is so delicious that there is a crowd within minutes of their opening the shop in the morning and the crowd is ready to wait and stand for a considerable amount of time to get the delivery of their orders.

The owner of the eatery surprised me once when he saw and greeted me with a smile and asked me whether I would like to have the same I always asked for, even before I could open my mouth. I could not resist asking him whether he remebered me from so many of his customers! After all, I had never chatted with him. I used take the food, pay for it and vanish. How could he remember me from the unorganized crowd that accumulates at his shop eager to place and take their order. Smiling back he said yes he remembers me and told me about my car, its color, my family members that accompany me sometimes and pointing towards where my car was parked that day, asked me why I have not brought along my kids that morning! and whether I was happy with the food !

I went back to my car amazed and thinking that this guy will surely rise. Few months back he bought his own two floor shop in the nearby market. He took care of his customers, he knew their preferences, took their feedback and in turn the customers rewarded him with more business.

Customer’s expectations
What do we expect as customers? That some marketing department records all our transactions, looks at our spending trends and encourages us into purchasing more, or they look into the problems we have faced and provide us prompt and if possible preventive service?

What do we want from the provider of the product or service?
• To start with, our money’s worth. 
• Quality service
• Timely service
• Communication and updates
• Feedback and action on feedback
• Approachable team
• A listening organization

A reputation for being with the customer goes a long way in generating trust, and that in the end, is good for business. Look at it as any other relationship, maybe between friends. Who would you go to when you need advice, consultancy or a loan, or when you are in trouble? A trusted friend or relative maybe. Then why will you not go to your service provider if you could trust him the same for a product, service or consultation? You would and once you trust the provider, you would purchase more from him because you know the services rendered are backed by care and trust.

Still, so many organizations ignore the customers, don’t listen to them and loose the opportunity to improve and generate long term business. Managing relationships is about managing service. Our focus has to be on Customer Service Management. The software tools we use, our measurements, our database, our inter-departmental functioning, our actions on customer feedback, the teams we build, must all focus on managing services so we care for the customer. The Customer Relationship has to be one of Care. 

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